General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How do you want to be criticized?

Asked by wundayatta (58596points) August 12th, 2010

I’m talking about times when someone else thought you were doing something wrong. Like when you were a child—how did you want your parents to criticize you? Or when you make a mistake at work, how do you want your boss to criticize you? Or if a friend or a spouse thinks you are messing up big time, how would you like them to talk to you about it?

Looking at it the other way—what really hurt you about the criticisms you have received in life? How could it have been done less painfully and more effectively?

I shouldn’t bias you by using the word “criticize,” I suppose, but I hope it gets across the idea. What do you want someone to do when they have a problem with you?

If you can, examples of how it went and you wish it had gone would be really helpful.

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19 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well I sure didn’t want to be beaten with the washing machine giant rubber tube, that’s for sure. No wonder I called my dad an idiot – of course, he beat me for that too. Right now, I prefer to be criticized via conversation in normal tones, not yelling ones.

lapilofu's avatar

I like productive criticism—criticism that makes me think and that offers advice. I prefer it be delivered in private. Most of the time I am willing to take it under consideration.

I am occasionally deeply offended by criticism—usually when someone suggests that I am really not what I believe I am. For instance: a few months ago, someone called me “closed-minded” and I got very upset (not angry—I don’t blame others for their perception of me—I can only blame myself) because it was so opposite to how I think of myself. It really threw me off for a while.

Austinlad's avatar

Privately, with respectful language, and sugegstions for how I can avoid making the same mistake.

Cruiser's avatar

I prefer the concept of simply and honestly bringing to my/their attention. Wanton criticism without constructive notice of said indiscretion is IMO crude, rude and irresponsible. Anybody can criticize just about everything and anything but to do so without getting involved and assisting with either an understanding of your objections and or getting involved in helping them to understand a alternative approach or solution to the situation in question is not helpful.

DominicX's avatar


In other words “I don’t like the way you’re doing X, you could be doing it better such as…”, offering a solution. It’s easy to criticize and point out problems. Coming up with solutions is the hard part. If I’m going to be criticized, I prefer people to have some kind of solution in mind or at least a path to a solution.

Ron_C's avatar

I am more than willing to listen to and possible follow constructive criticism. What I won’t tolerate is being yelled at as if it was an argument between sixth graders.

I once worked for a branch of a company where all of the staff yelled at eachother and at their employees. One day they tried that with me. I called a meeting of all the senior staff and told them that if they didn’t like what I was doing “tell me” or “fire me”. We are all adults here and I expect to be treated as such. After all, they asked me to work there, I tried to talk them out of it.

That was about 17 years ago. I have been criticised buy never yelled at.

stardust's avatar

Constructive criticism is the only type I appreciate.

SuperMouse's avatar

My simple answer to this question is I don’t want to be criticized. But that sn’t really an answer.

I prefer my criticism with a dose of validation. I am much more receptive to correction when it has be presented along with some positive feedback about something I did right. I do not like to be hit over the head with my mistakes and for the criticizer to realize that I will hold myself to account for whatever it is I have done wrong so there is no need for them to.

lilikoi's avatar

No one wants to be criticized. I think you need to do it one-on-one with tact, offering solutions if applicable.

zenele's avatar

I’m with @Simone_De_Beauvoir. But my hose was a belt. I’d prefer a little intelligent constructive criticism, and I’d certainly learn and grow from it – if it came from the right person, at the right time and in the correct tone.

All else would fall on deaf ears. Anything louder than 50 decibels would be met with equal vitriol; you wanna piece of me?!

whatthefluther's avatar

Evaluation should always be given in an honest yet inoffensive manner. Do it privately, reinforce the positive, identify areas for improvement and most importantly, provide direction on how specific improvement can be accomplished. Feedback and employee performance reviews, for example, are more than troublesome if handled differently (they are down-right painful for all involved).
See ya…..Gary/wtf

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Like all, I prefer to have it delivered in private, constructively, and with suggestions on how to improve.

What always concerns me is when feedback is delivered way after the fact, be it personal or professional. A supervisor that waits until the year-end review to deliver criticism is setting not only their employee but themselves up for failure. And any SO that comes home one day and says, “It’s over, and there is nothing that can be done to change my opinion” without ever sharing their feelings about getting to this point is just insensitive.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Keep the focus on the thing that needs correction or criticism. When I’m being reprimanded/criticized, it’s not helpful to call me an idiot, or any other name, for that matter. Just stick with the issue, and the issue is not, “You are dumb.”

Because I am not dumb. I have made a mistake. Just like everyone else does on occasion.

Directmale's avatar

I don’t recall doing anything I should be criticized for so I don’t understand the question.

MrsDufresne's avatar

I have three things that I require when being criticized.

1. Be as blatantly honest as possible.
2. Provide a reason why.
3. Don’t yell or become violent in any manner, way or form.


jacobsohn's avatar

It is the tone of voice and concern the person shows for you, that makes all the difference.

Glad to receive criticism if and when I am wrong, or do something incorrectly, knowing it comes fro some one who cares and makes the effort to correct me.

mattbrowne's avatar

Usually, a good feedback culture will reduce the need for real criticism significantly, because it works great as a preventive measure. Real criticism is only needed when real harm is involved. If an employee harasses other employees, normal feedback is not appropriate. Same for unacceptable behavior or views in an online forum. Or when a child doesn’t wait at a pedestrian crossing when the red light shows. This is not the time for feedback. This is the time to say: stop.

Feedback is about appreciation and irritation. At our company we practice the following

- we tell the other person what he or she shouldn’t change at all because it works so well
– we share our wishes (avoiding the pronoun you if possible) about changing certain behavior explaining the impact on us (like being very late for a meeting etc.)

Often this takes courage and requires training with lots of exercises. More advanced forms of a good feedback culture include approaches like challenging your boss.

Most of them time correcting something is about feedback, not criticism !

Constant criticism might occur when a good feedback culture doesn’t exist.

So to answer your question my goal is the following: I don’t want to be criticized at all (in the sense I explained above), but I’m very keen on getting feedback both ways.

I really liked @Fyrius’s feedback for example in one of the other threads telling me that I sound like giving a lecture at times. Yep. He’s not the first. Knowing your weak areas gives you a chance to change your behavior. Therefore feedback is so important, but it should be given in a proper way.

wundayatta's avatar

@mattbrowne? Lecture? Heaven forbid!

Not that I’ve noticed much of that.

YARNLADY's avatar

I hate when people say “You’re wrong” making it personal. If they say “this refutes your answer” it makes a lot more sense.

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