Why Do Some People Speak “Without a Filter?”

What do I mean by “without a filter”? Do you know someone or are friends with some one that never seems to hear what they are about to say before they blurt it out? They seem to have a process of hearing what you are saying, then spill whatever thoughts are flowing into their little head, without thinking about how it sounds? I know a few people that are under the notion that as soon as a thought comes into their heads, it needs to be immediately shared with others.

Linked in defines a person “without a filter.” “It is used to describe a person who speaks without tact, seems to blurt out their thoughts or is generally seen as very blunt.” I think that sums it up well. You could also add other colorful definitions, but I am trying to watch my language, for a change.

What makes some people think that just because an idea comes into their head that it needs to be shared with the rest of the world? Let me give you the 411, not everyone what to hear what you have to say, Poindexter. Some of the things we think up need to stay in your brain, not come out of your cottin’ pickin’ mouth.

This can hold true for a variety of situations, many of them include social events. Now, if you have some sort of mental problem or a brain injury, you get a pass. I have worked with both and these individuals can come up with a virtual plethora of inappropriate comments; however, some of the comments are “spot on.”

I worked in a mental health hospital for a time and was always getting strange and curious responses when working with clients. My mom’s favorite line was from one of my elderly patients that was in the “locked psych” unit for depression. This cute little lady would come to “group” in the morning to start her day and I would ask her how she was feeling as she entered the room. One day, she just looked up at me, with a straight lip, and said, “I wish you would just cut off my head and put it in a bag.” Well, that was not going to happen, so I asked her to take a seat.

It has been my experience that many people that converse without a filter seem to be aware that they are doing it. I have heard many of these people say, “well, I am just being honest and say how I feel.” Ok, then expect some not so nice comments in return. Stating that you are “blunt” or “just being honest” does not excuse your behavior! It does not relieve you of the responsibility for what you say. I have also observed that this type of person tends to be overly critical. The amazing thing is they are just a critical about themselves.

Piece of advice, if you learn to be nicer to yourself and not be so critical, it will make it easier to be not be so “honest” with others. It may take some work and practice, but you will find that once you learn to forgive yourself, you can more easily forgive others. If all else fails, just do not speak at all.

I blame a lot of this problem on social media. We are bombarded daily with news, information, over stimulating computers, phones, iPads and the like. We have lost the human to human contact. Many things I see and read are “said from a distance.” Most people that post on social media never have to see or interact, in person, with whom they are communicating about or with. This detachment seems to embolden people to say whatever comes to mind. This holds especially true when people are angry about an issue or subject.

I recall when I was working in the corporate word and we had to take a one-hour class on how to communicate with our co-workers. The entire class was based on how not to communicate or write emails when you are angry. It discussed how to be courteous and professional to those in our work environment. Are you kidding me? We had to take a course on how not to be a brat and act professionally. Did your parents not “raise you right?”

My parents were sticklers about me being be polite and courteous, when I was a kid. Being raised in the South requires that you learn manners early. If my mom caught be “being ugly”, as she called it, she could stretch her arm across a room and her palm would land on the top of my thigh with such force that my teeth would rattle in my head. Side note, did you ever notice that your parents would spank you in syllables? Example, “I-told-you-not-to-do-that.” Maybe that was just me.

Do not get me wrong, I have to work at being mindful about blurting out my thoughts on a daily basis. I am not poster child for good manners, but I recognize when some people speak that they have no manners at all. At least, not while I was listening.

I really do not have a solution to recommend. It is just an issue that bothers me when I see it happening.

I do have a few ideas, though. Start with an easy one. When checking out at a store or gas station, GET OFF THE PHONE! I see this almost every day. People are paying for their purchases and chattering away on their cell phone the entire time. These people do not speak or even make eye contact at the cashiers. I asked a few cashiers for their opinons when I was thinking of writing about this issue.

To my surprise, most cashiers were very forth coming with their comments. The general consensus was that most of the cashiers felt insulted and belittled when people were on their phones while checking out. One person even said it makes him feel like he is invisible. How would you feel if some one did not even acknowledge that you exist?

I know my “soap box rant” will fall on some deaf ears. There are some people that are so egocentric that they think none of this applies to them. Sad but true.

Unfortunately, many people lack empathy. These people are unable to “put themselves in another person’s shoes.” We are not born empathic; it has to be learned.

Hopefully, you will take some time and reflect. Be more “gentle” with yourself. Know that what you say evokes emptions from others, good and bad. Sometimes it is not what you say, but how you say it. (I have to state this to my husband repeatedly.)

Not that I am religious, but I have a great respect for it. I will leave you with the great words from the minster, John Watson (aka Ian MacLaren).

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

3 thoughts on “Why Do Some People Speak “Without a Filter?”

  1. Amen, amen and AMEN Laura. LOVE this post! I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I read the comment the elderly lady said to you. I have worked on several psych units in my day and some of the things you hear……….I wish I would have written them all down.

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