“Tact, like empathy, is based on a certain form of mutual understanding. But while empathy implies the idea of entering someone else’s mind inasmuch as it is linked to the presumption that ‘I know how you feel’, tact exists to create a form of bonding between individuals that is not based on the idea of intrusion but, conversely, on the respect for existing boundaries, and on a willingness not always to assume that one knows. While empathy requires resonance and proximity, tact is there to restore distance, and to accept the difference between the individuals involved in order to protect and preserve their dignity. Tact is based on an attention towards otherness.”

— Katja Haustein, “How to Be Alone with Others: Plessner, Adorno, and Barthes on Tact” (via mehreenkasana)