June 17, 2009
Again, with the not getting it.
I am, perhaps, just really dense. But 80% of the conflict I have with certain people (hi, mom!) can be summed up in one main cause:
If I have just screwed up in some way, and am therefore disappointed in myself, it is perhaps best to wait a few minutes before telling me what I should have done instead.
First of all, I’m still dealing with the disappointment. Give me a minute or two to process that before you ask me to move on to the “fixing it for next time” stage, willya?
Second, I already know I’ve made a mistake somehow, otherwise I’d have reached whatever goal it was in the first place. Pointing out, rapid-fire, what I should have done instead makes me feel even less intelligent for having made the mistake, since it was SO OBVIOUS to everyone else that I should have handled it differently. The way people with brains would have.
If, for example, I’ve just lost a game in pool… right then? Is not the time to ask me if I remember 4 shots ago when the 5 was nestled up on the rail against the 8 and I was just supposed to gently push the 5 into the 8 as a defensive maneuver, but instead I knocked the 5 away from the rail giving my opponent a clear shot on the 8.
No, I do not remember 4 shots ago, because my brain is busy yelling at me for having lost the game. Trying to teach me something at this juncture is useless, because I’m too upset to absorb anything. Also, it’s entirely probable that I was actually trying to do the thing you’re about to *teach* me, and all you’re doing at this point is highlighting my lack of skill, which I’m already well aware of, thanks. So at the very least, wait a little while, give me some time to get back to an emotionally receptive place, and I’ll do a much better job of taking the criticism gracefully.
Again, with the not getting it. When someone’s just failed at something and is obviously upset about it, how is it useful to start criticizing them immediately?