it’s time to be civil (32)


 # 22. Accept and give constructive criticism. A good friend will listen to us without judgment, accept the intensity of our feelings, respect our pain, and express concern. A really good friend will, in addition, help us to see our situation in a new way. …

To criticize is a serious business and sometimes an awesome responsibility. Before you speak make sure that your intention is to help with a problem and not to humiliate, manipulate, or exact revenge. Are you sure there is a problem and that you have a sound sense of what it is? Is this the right moment to address it? Are you so upset that it’s probably a good idea to wait? What is the emotional state of the other person? Are there other people around who shouldn’t be privy to the exchange? Finally, consider asking the other person’s permission to broach the delicate subject: ‘I’ve been wondering about something you did. Would you mind if I shared my thoughts with you?’ …

To make your criticism constructive and effective: *Identify an issue, rather than launching an attack on the person. … * Describe what you have observed rather than uttering accusations or engaging in name-calling. … * Show that understand how the other person may feel. … * Suggest a solution if you feel this is the right time to do so. … * Remain calm, kind, and empathic throughout the exchange.

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp.141,142,143

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