Hypercritical inconsiderate person or aspie?

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sunshinescj
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05 Apr 2014, 11:57 am

Hi I've got a few questions and a story sorta. Are you often called hypercritical? Are you looked at as pessimist? Do you have trouble sugar-coating things or sounding cutesy/ encouraging around little kids or anyone who's work isn't up to par? For me I correct because I care and want the best for people but most seem to find it discouraging and call me hateful and/or too picky. My parents in particular appear to find it disrespectful that I feel little to no shame in correcting not only kids younger than me but also adults. I don't think they understand that I correct myself all the time as well just in my head. I seem to be really bad about correcting behavior around animals and how something is said even if I know what someone means. Sound familiar? Sorry for the huge post :oops:



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05 Apr 2014, 12:04 pm

Lot of people don't like to be corrected so it's best to do it in your head.


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05 Apr 2014, 1:09 pm

It's true that most people don't like to be corrected, but how you do it makes a big difference. It's not as bad if the message they get is "there is a way to do better and here it is: ...", rather than "you're bad at this". Of course, doing this takes practice and even many NT with many years of practice are bad at it - but it can be done.

Consider some examples of a teacher giving feedback on a test:

1) You waste your time on questions you can't do, make a mess of those and don't even attempt the rest!

Really bad. Not only is the focus entirely on what the student did wrong, but this statement makes the student look like an idiot by implying that this is what he always does. That's unhelpful even if it's true (which is unlikely).

2) You completely wasted your time on one hard question, made a mess of that, and didn't even attempt the rest.

Bad. This statement still focuses on what the student did wrong, but at least it sticks to the current test and doesn't turn the mistakes into character flaws.

3) You could have got marks for most of the questions if you didn't spend all your time on one really hard one!

Much better. This statement still points out what the student did wrong, but note that the focus is now on how to improve.

4) This time you tried a hard question first, which you didn't manage to answer and then you didn't have any time left for the easier ones, either. Next time try reading over all the questions first, so you can find the easy ones and do those before trying the hard ones, and I'm sure you'll get a much better mark.

Even better. This states what the student did wrong, but with understanding, rather than blame. The focus is very clearly on future improvement, because the teacher gives concrete advice on what to do. Finally, the teacher expresses some confidence in the student's ability to improve.

Note that the facts being stated are basically the same every time (except the advice added in statement 4), but how they're presented completely changes how it comes across, doesn't it?


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InThisTogether
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05 Apr 2014, 1:10 pm

When I first pointed out to my son that most people do not like to be corrected, especially by kids (he had an issue with a teacher), he was dumbfounded by the revelation. His exact response was "Why wouldn't the want to know the truth?" In his mind, he was genuinely trying to be helpful and had no idea that it would not be perceived as such.

Since he has come to understand that it is not perceived as helpful by others, he has had to take responsibility for his own actions and stop doing it. He realizes that if his intention is not to offend others, then he needs to adjust his behavior accordingly. Of course, if it has to do with safety, he will still share correct information, and with certain people he will also still do it. But in general, if someone says something incorrect, unless he is asked for his input, he keeps it to himself.

This, btw, is not just something people on the spectrum need to learn. Everyone needs to learn it. I think a main difference is that NTs are more able to pick up that the other person is offended and figure out why, whereas someone on the spectrum tends to only see their own intention, so they are baffled by the response of others if the recognize it.


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05 Apr 2014, 1:34 pm

I have some trouble figuring out when to criticize and when not, but my response tends to be not to criticize at all. I tend to try to understand and make excuses even for violent criminals. Maybe that makes me naive, I don't know.

Perhaps it stems from my own fear of doing something wrong or hurtful. I feel intense shame when I hurt someone else, even unintentionally. It feels really bad to have to tell someone else that they have done something hurtful, and I will only do so if there is a possibility that my telling them will prevent them from doing it in the future. Sometimes, in those situations, I am the one who can step outside of the politeness of convention and bluntly tell someone, for example, "You need to clean your bathroom; it's filthy and you're grossing out your guests." I have done that, on one occasion. It was very uncomfortable for me, but I think if I had been NT I would never have even been able to bring myself to say it.


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05 Apr 2014, 4:12 pm

InThisTogether wrote:
When I first pointed out to my son that most people do not like to be corrected, especially by kids (he had an issue with a teacher), he was dumbfounded by the revelation. His exact response was "Why wouldn't the want to know the truth?" In his mind, he was genuinely trying to be helpful and had no idea that it would not be perceived as such.

Since he has come to understand that it is not perceived as helpful by others, he has had to take responsibility for his own actions and stop doing it. He realizes that if his intention is not to offend others, then he needs to adjust his behavior accordingly. Of course, if it has to do with safety, he will still share correct information, and with certain people he will also still do it. But in general, if someone says something incorrect, unless he is asked for his input, he keeps it to himself.

This, btw, is not just something people on the spectrum need to learn. Everyone needs to learn it. I think a main difference is that NTs are more able to pick up that the other person is offended and figure out why, whereas someone on the spectrum tends to only see their own intention, so they are baffled by the response of others if the recognize it.


^^THIS^^ 100%

If you absolutely MUST correct someone, DO NOT tell them they're WRONG, or that they're doing it WRONG - SUGGEST a more helpful alternative and then step back. If they take your advice, great, then you've helped. If they don't, you did what you could and you are not responsible for their failure.

Trust me on this - in the Real World, telling people they're wrong, they're making a mistake, or that their ideas are stupid, will get you attacked, beaten and/or fired repeatedly. They do not want to hear it, even if they say they do. When your boss says "I like employees who think outside the box" - don't you believe it - it's a trap! Neurotypicals want conformity above all else.

If you cannot, in good conscience, endorse an idea or praise mediocre work, then you'd better come up with a very pleasant way of deflecting. If a child shows you something they've done and it's awful, even for a child, you don't have to say "Oh WOW! How WONDERFUL, you are SO TALENTED!" because that would be a lie.

However, you can at least smile and say "Kewl," so as not to hurt the child's feelings. You're not lying about their abilities, you're simply acknowledging their own feelings of accomplishment, and that's a simple courtesy. As Patrick Swayze reminded us in Roadhouse, "Always be nice, until it's time to not be nice."