Criticism: n. a communication with disapproval for too much deviation from normative standards of perfection and/or complete standards of perfection for a subset(s)

Almost all of us have been criticized for not looking good, not doing the right thing, or having an opinion or belief which is unacceptable or wrong. Our first reaction is usually very defensive and we frequently decide to defend ourselves or get very upset at the criticism.  When you criticize another human keep in mind that they may become very defensive and upset no matter how diplomatically you present that criticism.

There are certain things which you should keep in mind when offering criticism.

Don’t name call such as calling someone stupid, crazy, or incompetent for doing a stupid, crazy, or incompetent thing.

Instead ask a probing question and find out what made the human do the stupid, crazy, or incompetent thing. They may surprise you by giving a reasonable answer from their point of view and what they did may not seem so stupid, crazy, and incompetent as you initially thought. After getting a subjective personal answer you may still decide that objectively what they did was stupid, crazy, or incompetent so then offer a suggestion of what you would have done instead and find out if they agree with you.

If you are a boss then you can insist that they do what is right the next time but if it is a friend then you should accept their point of view and not try to force them to change their behavior the next time around.

If you are criticizing an opinion which is not a firmly held belief which you probably will never change then ask them to give reasons for the opinion if it is one that you disagree with.

What are the reasons why you feel that way? or What facts are you using to back up your opinion? are questions which will give you a better idea of why the opinion is being held. There may not be any facts to back up the opinion and it may simply be an impulsive feeling of being right. If this is the case then you can present facts or reasons why a differing opinion is in fact right and should be held.

There are other techniques which you can use to persuade a human that your opinion is the right one to have but you should realize that you may still fail to convince another that you are right and they are in fact wrong. If the opinion is not going to affect your life in any major way then let the opinion live and don’t try to destroy it by taking a very aggressive attitude towards it and starting unnecessary confrontations or arguments.

An attitude that I am right and you are wrong is frequently the wrong approach because as in most things in life neither you nor they are completely right or wrong but both are frequently partially right and partially wrong. There are many more shades of grey such as sometimes, frequently, and not always than just black or white, yes or no.

Criticizing looks is dangerous because no one wants you to say that outfit is ugly because they impulsively feel that you are calling them personally ugly. When criticizing give some valid factual reasons why you don’t like something first. It is not my favorite color, color combination, style, pattern, or print is much better than saying it is ugly, I hate it, it is terrible, and I can’t stand it.

If you have a reputation for being honest, sincere, dependable, and trustworthy then your critical opinion will have more impact than if you have a bad or unreliable reputation and are not trusted by another. Criticisms from someone that you like are not as offensive as criticisms from someone whom you don’t like.


If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, approximately 700 so far, and one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially COMMON SENSE, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.


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