An elegant skill
“Finesse” is an elegant word. It has a mere two syllables, and all of its letters sound soft. I cannot imagine anyone ever shouting this word; indeed, most speakers seem to drop their voices a bit when they utter it.
The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides these definitions:
“1: refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture
2: skillful handling of a situation : adroit maneuvering
3: the withholding of one's highest card or trump in the hope that a lower card will take the trick because the only opposing higher card is in the hand of an opponent who has already played”
Diplomats are probably the best examples of those who must understand finesse. It's important to remember, however, that diplomats are not just government officials jetting off to exotic countries to hold high-level talks. We're all diplomats, if we choose to be.
For more than two decades I've been the fortunate recipient of countless instances of finesse from many diplomats in this community … far too many to list here. No one among them is the kind who seeks public accolade, anyway.
With just the right words and just the right actions at just the right times, these diplomats have guided and inspired me. I will always be deeply grateful for their finesse.
“I'm not a writer because I want to make money. I'm a writer because I'm a very slow thinker, but I do care about thinking, and the only way I know how to think with any kind of finesse is by telling stories.”
Gregory Maguire, American novelist