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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRITICISM AND
       FEEDBACK IN A RELATIONSHIP
September 30 , 2007
Page 1 of 3  (pages 1  2  3)                                         next page >>>


There are five sections to this three-page article:
   Criticism versus Feedback
   Example of All-Round Criticism-Delivery Screw Up by Me
   How to Deliver Feedback (not Criticism)
   Professional Example of Feedback Delivery
   Can Feedback (Not Criticism) Be Successfully Delivered in a Relationship?
   The Mood Component
   What if YOU are the One Receiving Feedback or Criticism?


Criticism versus Feedback
Feedback is positive and productive, and criticism is negative and counterproductive.   We all know what it is like to be criticized by our girlfriend or wife, and none of us enjoy it.  [The same is true for our female readers with respect to their boyfriends or husbands, I am quite sure.]  I mean – how can anyone possibly enjoy or appreciate criticism?   Sure – there is such a thing as “constructive criticism” … but what does that really mean?  Is “constructive criticism” simply criticism delivered with a smile?

The word “criticism” itself has a negative connotation.  If you look the word “criticism” up in the dictionary, you will find various interpretations that include phrases like “passing judgment” and “pointing out faults or shortcomings”, etc.   Criticism (whether constructive or otherwise) is really just an opinion … a viewpoint that one person has with respect to another.  What really matters is who that criticism is coming from … who that person is to you.  If criticism comes from your boss at work, then that criticism is clearly important … no matter how well or poorly it is delivered.  If the criticism is from your girlfriend or wife … then it may or may not be important to you … but in any case, how you react to it IS definitely important.  So there really are four points to this article:

  1. Criticism is negative
  2. Feedback is positive
  3. The importance of the criticism or feedback depends on who it is coming from
  4. Your reaction to receiving criticism or feedback can have a positive or negative impact on this situation and/or the relationship

Example of All-Round Criticism-Delivery Screw Up by Me
Here’s an example where I screwed up big time with respect to the woman named Debi that I was dating (prior to my current girlfriend).  Debi was this hot fireball Latina nurse who I was really physically attracted to.  She was educated, and came from a great family.  One thing that I didn’t really like about Debi was that she had a tendency to drink too much at times, and then she would get kind of loud and obnoxious without realizing it.  Now I, myself, do like to party – but when she and I would be out … she’d often drink me under the table … and so after having three or four drinks myself, I’d have a buzz and STILL notice that she was becoming obnoxious … so this was the behavior that I felt compelled to criticize.  On one such occasion, we were at this local very high-end Spanish bar/restaurant … and after a number of drinks, Debi asked me out of the blue, “So is there anything I do that you don’t like?”, and I just looked at her, and stupidly said quite matter-of-factly,

        “Actually, I find that you often drink too much and then
         become loud, obnoxious, and annoying.” 

In a matter of seconds, Debi jumped up from her chair and screamed at me in front of the entire restaurant “FUCK YOU - YOU MOTHER FUCKER – I FUCKING HATE YOU” … and then she stormed out.   The entire interaction - from her request for feedback, to my poor delivery of the criticism, to her response/reaction … it all took no more than maybe twenty seconds.  Now Debi was definitely what I call a showgirl (see Types of Women – Showgirl) … so I should have predicted this reaction, and delivered the feedback quite differently.  Debi was also a party girl (see Types of Women – Party Girl), and so her excessive partying should not entire have been unexpected by me – especially since she was fairly consistent with it.   I also should have realized that Debi’s party girl and showgirl characteristics were very much part of her personality, and were not likely to change … which I discuss in the Fundamental Truths about Women and Midlife Dating Today section of this site – specifically Fundamental Truth #8 You Cannot Change a Woman.      Continued on next page >>>

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