When seeing someone or do something, it’s easy to be a critic. After the fact all the information appears to be known. You may ask yourself, “How could they have made a dumb decision?”
The facts may seem crystal clear in hindsight, but rarely do you have all the information. There is a lot going on in everyone’s lives. You never know everything that is going on in the other person’s life that played in to their decision.
When you are criticized, what is the most common reaction? For me, I can defend my decision because I feel that I have the facts. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. When I don’t it isn’t that I am stupid, but it is because I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time.
No reasonable person wants to make bad decisions. People usually want to and try to do the right thing. Criticizing them for making a poor decision does not help.
When you feel compelled to criticize, make the extra effort to catch yourself before you say anything.
- Think of what other factors not known could have led to this decision.
- If appropriate, ask the person who made the decision what led them to their decision. Be careful here. You can easily sound like you are passing judgment. If you are or think you might sound like you are being judgmental, just shut up. Only a genuine heart to help can ask how someone made a poor decision.
- Once you have more information, ask yourself if you would have made the same decision.
- With a genuine heart to help, offer to learn together with the other person so that both of you can make a better decision next time.
When have you offered a critical opinion only to
damage your relationship because of your critique?
How do you offer helpful advice to help others
make good decisions?