Feedback. Constructive Criticism.

Yesterday I had dinner with a trusted friend. During the course of the conversation the topic of constructive criticism, honest sharing between friends came up. I expressed my desire to know when something isn’t working in my relationship with friends.  The danger of not knowing is the possibility that they may stop talking to me and I will never know why.  Self esteem comes from DOING Esteemable Acts, and it’s an Esteemable Act to be open to feedback. Honest feedback is a blessing.
This discussion about feedback and constructive criticism opened the door to my friend asking if she “could tell me something.” I asked for it, so of course, I said yes.  She went on to tell me (in a thoughtful way) that I have a tendency to interrupt people before they have finished speaking, which can be offensive.  She said that when I do this, it’s as though I feel what I have to say is more important, and it’s rude.
She was quiet for a moment after offering the feedback, as if to see how I would respond.

You Can’t Change What You Can’t See.

I heard her—loudly and clearly, and if the truth be known, I know that this was a character flaw of mine, which I need to address. Sometimes it takes holding a mirror up to my flaws to begin the tough process of getting rid of them. It takes courage to ask for truthful and constructive feedback, and it takes even greater courage to give it.
My friend had no idea how I would react, and yet, she trusted me when I said, “tell me.” How lucky I am, I thought, to have real friends who will tell me the truth. Did I like what she said? No way!  Do I know it to be true? YES! Was it helpful information? Absolutely!  It makes me wonder how many friends I may have lost because of that one bad habit of interrupting folks. I cannot go back and change the past, but from this day forward, I can make a concerted effort to be more mindful of NOT interrupting people. And what if I then forget what I wanted to say—then too bad.

Finding Francine Ward.

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