Quick to Blame
Recently I have noticed, particularly in electronic conversations, (email and text) the tendency to correct others and lay blame.
I have had this criticism levelled at me a couple of times during the last year or so, “You always make out that you are right and others are wrong. You correct people all the time when you talk to them. This is extremely annoying.” for example.
I have become very aware, following these comments, of how I react in conversations and have been attempting to catch myself, preferably before making the comment, in the hope that this will make my speech less confrontational.
That being the case, and following on from the rule of ‘focus’ in life, (think of a red car – immediately begin to see hundreds of red cars) I have become hyper-aware of this tendency, in emails particularly.
A recent example. A request for volunteers for an event. One response said yep I’ll be there but this decision is made without any idea of when and what days I will be required.
Now all that required info was in the email, albeit a bit of a way down as this response was the end of a few answers. But the info WAS there. IN THE ACTUAL EMAIL THAT WAS BEING ANSWERED.
The responder had not read the whole communication, yet took it upon themselves to criticise the originator of the request and blame them for leaving out vital information.
Why do we do this? And I obviously include myself in this question, as evidenced by the above, I am as guilty as anyone.
But are there two possible ways of looking at this?
I was a teacher for some years in the earlier part of my working life and correcting kids when I thought I was right, has always been a part of my life. Do I now see everyone as kids that need my teaching to make them see the error of their ways?
I am a bit of a stickler for getting things right. Of course, ‘right’ is extremely subjective and I may often not be correct. My corrections can be, in fact, not corrections at all, but an extension of the original error.
I don’t feel I am doing this with an air of superiority, just a feeling that accuracy is important. Again, I say ‘accuracy’ according to me.
Secondly, it may very well be a feeling that if I can put you down, and tell you that you are wrong, this will elevate me to a higher status and prove to me, you, and anyone else listening, that I am, in fact, superior.
A need for ego-stroking or a need for correctness. Or are they both the same in a subtle kind of way?
Or is there another element here? One of judgment? Hard to tell.
Call to Action
But my call out to all of you reading this, and to me of course, – before you criticise somebody, and blame them for something, make sure you have all the information, and make sure that your criticism is fair. How do you know if it is fair?
Easy. Follow the PAME code (Emee Vida Estacio) and use a little bit of TLC. Is your criticism TRUE? Is it LOGICAL? Finally, is it CONSTRUCTIVE? If your comment fails any one of these criteria, then suck it back in and say nothing at all. Better for everyone.
And remember when you point one finger at someone else, there are three pointing back to you.