Part 2/2: The Art of (Never) Explaining 

2. ‘Never Explain’

I’m much better at this than at not complaining but I’m working on this one too. As the article explains (haha), explaining presumes culpability so, long story short and turned into advice, be careful who you explain yourself to.

I’m working mostly on not offering unsolicited explanations. Oddly enough, I find that I am more likely to offer a gratuitous explanation for an action of minimal significance than I am to offer an explanation if asked of me if the situation in question is one where I do not see that an explanation is warranted.

It takes practice to be able to confidently discern when you do and do not need to explain yourself and to whom, regardless of whether or not you are being pressed for one. The type of job you have also comes with its own unique level of responsibility to others and its extremely frustrating when someone does not seem to understand that. Take, for example, a politician who doesn’t bother explaining his policies to constituents in a satisfying manner or responding to concerns when he takes an unfavorable action. That politician would be an atrocious one. An artist, on the other, doesn’t need to explain why he’s chosen black over pink in any way that implies accountability in answering; any explanation offered would be purely informational, not absolving, in nature. (Art that is controversial due to its use of subjects and mediums is a different story).

Before offering up an unsolicited explanation, I make sure the explanation is valuable (i.e. it could help preserve a friendship, for example) and who I’m about to explain myself to. When asked, I keep in mind the same things.

© Leila Chammas, November 16, 2016.

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