Episode #679

February 5, 2022


Critique or criticism?
These are vastly different attitudes, yet we can easily slip between the two.

Love will often bring an urge to advise/critique.
Advice is meant to protect, support, encourage and enable.

Counseling, recommendations, coaching, teaching and iMentoring are acts of love.

Critique can be misunderstood.
Humans often see advice as judgment.
Judgment is offensive.
Interference, kibitzing, meddling, moralizing, pontification, exhortation, lecturing and preaching are gut interpretations of judgment.

Here are some things i do to avoid the slippery slope of offense.

My primary assumption is that all critique is advice and not criticism. Critique is not slight. The critic wants the best for me and wants to share their successes to help me improve.
Critique is for the future, not a judgment of the past.

To avoid being misunderstood, do not start your critique with the word “No.” People think you are telling them they are wrong when you use the word “No.”

Do not state suggestions as commands.
Which comment would you prefer to hear?

“Don’t do it that way.”


“When i find myself in that situation, i do this.”

Suggesting a modification to a behavior is better than completely redesigning it.
As a construction worker i learned important tips to make carrying large objects easier. The person on each end of the object being carried should match hand positions. This relieves a tension twist on the object.
The other day, when carrying a sofa with my friend, i had my left hand high and right hand low. My friend was lifting with the opposite symmetry.
Instead of telling my friend to switch hands, i made it a learning moment.

“Let’s stop a moment,” i said.
“What’s wrong?” he said.
“Nothing really, but i when i worked in construction i learned that both people using the same hand orientation when lifting takes the stress off the load. Let me switch hands so that mine match yours.”
“Interesting,” he said.

I don’t presume that i know the best way to do everything. Asking the other person what they know or what their motivations are in a situation can be a learning opportunity for me.

Always agree and endorse an idea that seems better than your own.

In the end, critical thinking should be your motivation to give advice. i make sure i have thought it through thoroughly before i speak.

Other persons’ opinions are formed from their interactions with you. You build your reputation with everything you say and do.

Every teaching critique can be an act of love.
Every criticism you make is crack in the foundation of your own house.

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