Don’t you hate to be corrected?
Don’t you hate it when someone says, “Do you mind if I share an observation for you?” Don’t you just want to reply, “YES, I DO mind. Now please go back to Observationville and I’ll call you when start to run low on observations.”
One of the worst things about being corrected is the way your face feels. You want to smile and look “receptive,” open and humble, yet your face essentially feels like it’s made out of Plaster of Paris and is about to crack into a thousand pieces. On the outside your face says, “Yes, I can see what you’re saying. Hmmm. No, I didn’t realize that every time I open my mouth you feel like I’m tazering you. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.” But inside you are saying to yourself, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.”
So here are some suggestions for how to receive correction.
First, take a lesson from the CIA, whose motto is “Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-accusations.” The minute someone begins to correct you, even before they’ve finished their first sentence, launch your offensive: “Why are you always attacking me and tearing me down? Why can’t you support me for once? Aren’t there enough dogs in the street that you have to start kicking me?” Do this at least 23 decibels louder than you normally speak.
This should take your would-be “observer” off guard. They may be speechless for a moment, which will give you the opportunity to launch your second fusillade: the guilt trip. “After all I’ve done for you, this is the thanks I get? Whatever happened to encouragement? You know the last time you encouraged me? In the Truman administration! Why do I even bother trying to do anything nice for anyone if this is what’s going to happen to me?”
Now they may gently point out they haven’t actually even said anything to you yet. Don’t be put off by this. Launch stage 3: Play the ‘Woe is me’ card. “I’m sorry for snapping like that. It’s just that I’ve been under so much stress lately. My pet lizard, ‘Lucky,’ died last week and all the crickets I’d fed him got out of his cage and my whole house became infested and the city came and condemned it. They accused me of being a hoarder, just because I like to collect things. On top of that, I had to get rid of my 32 cats. It’s just been terrible. I don’t think I can take any more.”
If your observer hasn’t left yet, launch stage 4: The downcast listener. “Ok, give me your observation. I need to be teachable. Tell me how bad I am. Tell me what a loser I am. I need to hear it. It’s good for me. Just let me grab some kleenex first.” Then look at them with sad watery eyes. Sniff and wipe your nose.
If at this point, they still have gumption to actually give you an observation, repeat tactic 1: “Oh, right – I’M insensitive. Well what about last Sunday when you snubbed me at the coffee bar? What? You didn’t see me because of how crowded it was? Talk about insensitive! If you didn’t see me, why weren’t you concerned? Oh right. You were reaching out to a guest. Well, I guess I just have to try to be more sensitive to YOU, Mr. Outreach.”
Get the idea? It’s not that hard. Put these simple techniques into practice and soon you’ll be correction free like I am.
photo by roberthuffstutter