One More Criticism
Are you ever in a quandary, trying to decide whether or not to express a criticism to a person close to you? When something bothers you, what checklist do you use to decide whether or not to hold your tongue?
A problem with criticisms is: Once they are spoken, they often remain forever thereafter. Few people forget someone else has criticized them verbally or non-verbally.
When you express one more criticism to someone close to you, you add to a very long list of behavioral or characteristic criteria you expect the other person to consider when they are around you.
Many of us may not understand how many unspoken criticisms we express in others’ company.
Avoiding giving criticisms is probably impossible for anyone to do. We regularly give positive and negative cues to people around us – through voice inflections, eye contact, body language, seating arrangements, frequency of contact, etc. – all can easily be critical.
You know the cliché: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. That idea might be a pleasant aspiration, but I doubt that standard can be achieved during the length of any extended, meaningful relationship. But that cliché touches on a similar interest to what I’m discussing in this post.
Some people quickly realize they cannot meet all the many criteria needed to meet your social requirements. You might be happy to exclude them. But if you wonder why few people remain in your company, consider that part of the reason may be they don’t wish to meet all your spoken and unspoken behavioral criteria.
The next time someone criticizes you, you may find yourself saying to yourself: ”Really? You’ve found one more thing to criticize me about? One more thing is not to your liking? You want me to add that to the list?” Similarly, others may think the same with each new criticism you give them.
When the number of criteria reach a sufficient sum where the other person realizes, consciously or unconsciously, they cannot meet your standards, often the person will drop out of your social circle.
But I hear you saying: “But they really need to hear the criticism because it’s really important.” You may be right. Nevertheless, the social consequences may be the same. So, when you think it’s time to give one more criticism, whenever you can – hold your tongue.
Of all the recommendations I’ve given on this blog, this may be the one I am least able to follow – an Achilles’ Heel. Achilles’ weakness was closely related to his strength. He was known for his speed and physical strength in battle. That’s a thing with Achilles’ Heels – our points of weakness are often closely connected to, or the flip side of, our strengths.
The above artwork is by Louie Metz. © All rights reserved by Louie Metz.
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