MY DAD died when I was only a teenager but one piece of his advice has always stayed with me.
He told me that being tactful was vital in life.
Tact gets things done.
It helps in dealing with people and getting around difficult issues and situations.
And good manners are inextricably linked to tact.
I'm sure I haven't always lived up to his expectations but I tell you what, I think I'm a damn sight more tactful than many people today who come across in conversation, emails, Facebook posts and the like as plain rude.
Tact is definitely an acquired skill. It requires being sensitive, "reading" people and seeing where they're coming from.
It is a keen sense of knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it so as not to offend.
My jaw drops at times at the lack of tact.
If only certain people I know had said things differently or more diplomatically, toned down their use of language (and I don't mean swearing) or come across a little more civil and considerate, we'd all get along.
We might be more willing to see their argument, come around to their thinking or at least accept they have a point of view instead of being brow-beaten into the ground.
The new US President is possibly the least tactful, most un-PC person on the world stage but I'm sure many examples exist much closer to home.
Alas, being tactful is a dying art and, I fear, soon to be relegated to the dustbin of communication.