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Tact

  • No one can become a good conversationalist without tact. It is the sensitive touch that recognizes when a subject has become distasteful, which sees the eagerness of someone else to say something, which notes the slightest cloud of expression crossing another's face.

  • Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.

  • There is something about conscious tact that is very irritating.

  • ... the man who never tells an unpalatable truth 'at the wrong time' (the right time has yet to be discovered) is the man whose success in life is fairly well assured.

  • Doctor Dave hasn't much tact, to be sure — he was always talking of ropes in houses where someone had hanged himself.

  • ... a little oil makes machinery work easy ...

  • Tact does for life just what lubricating oil does for machinery.

    • Laura Ingalls Wilder,
    • 1916, in Stephen W. Hines, ed., Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler, The Rediscovered Writings ()
  • Tact is after all a kind of mind-reading ...

  • If a diplomat says yes, he means perhaps. If he says perhaps he means no. And if he says no, he's the hell of a diplomat.

  • Tact is for people with too much damned time on their hands.

  • ... what a fine quality, what an absolute virtue Tact is. Lady Portmore never had a grain of it — a misfortune that fell more heavily on her friends than on herself.

  • Tact is good taste in action.

  • Tact is the art of making people feel at home when that's where you wish they were.

  • The austere principles of tact tell the tongue to keep away from the aching thought.