Soft, hard, touchy, feely. Don’t forget fluffy. Words.
I am somehow irritated, annoyed, irked when I hear descriptions of the relational aspect of working together as soft. Why does it get under my skin so much?
Soft – source free dictionary:
- Easily molded, cut, or worked.
- Yielding readily to pressure or weight.
- Out of condition; flabby.
- Not brilliant or glaring; subdued: soft colors.
- Not sharply drawn or delineated
- Mild; balmy: a soft breeze
- a gentle disposition; tender.
- Affectionate: a soft glance.
- Not stern; lenient.
- Lacking strength of character; weak.
- Easy: a soft job.
- Based on conciliation or negotiation rather than on threats or power plays: took a soft line toward their opponents.
- a soft economy; a soft computer market.
- Informal and entertaining without confronting difficult issues or hard facts: limited the discussion to soft topics.
Hard – source Free Dictionary
- Physically toughened; rugged.
- Mentally toughened; strong-minded.
- Requiring great effort or endurance: a hard assignment.
- Performed with or marked by great diligence or energy: a project that required years of hard work.
- Making few concessions: drives a hard bargain..
- Lacking compassion or sympathy; callous.
- Proceeding or performing with force, vigor, or persistence; assiduous: a hard worker.
- Real and unassailable: hard evidence.
- Definite; firm: a hard commitment.
- Close; penetrating: We need to take a hard look at the situation.
- Free from illusion or bias; practical: brought some hard common sense to the discussion
- Using or based on data that are readily quantified or verified: the hard sciences.
In a tweet with Clare Haynes I wonder whether we use these terms because “Old norms and values lingering. Gender conditioning men tough, women tender, men clever, women intuitive etc” – is there something deeply locked in our language that is causing my reaction?