Has constructive feedback actually helped you??

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Jayo
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03 Jul 2021, 11:03 am

Can any one of my fellow Aspies say that they've received and assimilated sufficient constructive feedback to make a discernible improvement in socio-emotional faculties?

I think the big obstacle to such improvement is that, let's face it, constructive feedback is a rare commodity indeed. This is due to a variety of reasons, the big one being that well... the NT maxim that "up to 90% of communication is nonverbal", so lot of the times NT peers will "tell" us that our behaviour's off through facial expressions or disgust, or "WTF?" or even contempt or derision...perhaps turning their bodies away from us or their heads to the side... but even if we notice these, it doesn't tell us specifically what or why.

So, the one out of 10 times where we DO get honest feedback, we logically think: "well, that's just John or Jane Doe's problem/opinion, the majority of people don't tell me this, and so I don't have any rational basis for comparison."

OF course, the paradox is that if we get too much constructive feedback, we might think that more people than we expected are willing to be lenient with our quirks, and so there is less pressure to improve upon / mask our generally undesirable and off-putting traits. 8O

But yeah, it's unfortunate but usually the kind of behavioural response feedback we get is:
a) the aforementioned non-verbal response
b) sarcasm, where they give us false info to cause us to make a spectacle of ourselves
c) hostility, which might include assaults or threats
d) the constructive, enlightened feedback I mentioned

One could almost think of these four responses in descending order of frequency 8O
Although it really depends on your demographic. I will admit that as you get past your mid-20s, responses b and c steadily decline and you might get more of d. If you're fortunate enough. But a is still the prevailing category.

I was lucky enough to have a circle of friends in my early 20s back in the 90s who helped with my quirks and I improved as a result, even getting dates and bar hook-ups...and a couple of acquaintances who told me certain things like don't talk so close to people especially when they're backing away, and don't keep talking about something if they're changing the subject and appear bored. I didn't react harshly to this criticism - I actually thanked them profusely. Somehow, despite us appearing alien to the vast majority, a few have the presence of mind to realize that we're struggling and deserve a fair shake, that equipping us with that "esoteric" knowledge is the morally right thing to do. :)



ToughDiamond
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03 Jul 2021, 12:38 pm

Don't know if this would count, but one time when I was ranting to a counsellor about a partner, she said "there must be some reason why she's behaving like that towards you." Which very neatly redirected me away from my entrenched position of "you've got to admit she's in the wrong there, I mean what a skunk, she's being unreasonable isn't she?" into "why?" The counsellor could have tried to tell me that I'd just been immaturely fishing for her to reinforce my prejudice that I was "right" and my partner was "wrong" and that I was entitled to better treatment, she could have got all didactic and annoyed me, but instead she subtly offered a more useful way of looking at the situation. I don't remember it directly leading to solving my relationship problem, but it did help me to figure out that it's rather a waste of time to try and turn a conflict into "courtroom" battles as if there was a powerful judge listening who would order the opponent to desist and apologise, and that it can be a lot more useful to look for the cause of an attack.

Another counsellor failed to influence me when he said I was in a "paralysis of analysis" as he put it. Neither of us knew I had ASD or any other "mental condition." He seemed to think I was wrong to be spending a long time analysing the prices of food and where to buy it, how much of each item to stock up on etc. Though I don't think criticism was due. It was just my way of doing the thing, it took a bit of time and some people might have thought me rather loopy for getting so involved with it, but it ran its course and the result was that I ate better and cheaper. To him it didn't look normal, so he presumably felt it was his place to talk me out of it. His use of that snappy phrase was counter-productive. I just thought "he thinks using a clever rhyme will make me believe him." My wife and I both figured he was on a guru trip, and was too overbearing to be helpful.

I've known of roughly 3 types of people - those who criticise to score points for themselves, those who wouldn't try to intervene even if I were about to wreck my life, and those who are genuine. It's only the genuine ones who can do any good, and their skills have ranged from very good to rather clumsy.



blazingstar
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03 Jul 2021, 12:54 pm

Yes. Very much so.

I even ask for constructive criticism from trusted F/friends and it has helped me and made my life better.


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HeroOfHyrule
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03 Jul 2021, 12:59 pm

I ask my friends for constructive criticism regarding social things all the time. It doesn't usually help if strangers/people who aren't close to me try to give me constructive criticism though, because they don't know how to explain things to me and will assume I know things that I don't.


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Double Retired
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04 Jul 2021, 1:21 pm

At least three bits of pre-marital constructive feedback I received and benefited from come to mind:

(1) Somewhere along the way I was told, probably by my parents, that it was polite to look at people when I was talking with them. So, I try to look at people when I'm talking with them. No one said anything about looking into their eyes so I don't do that. It seems to be working for me.

(2) When I was quite young I guess I started using larger and larger words. (That's common with Aspies, isn't it?) Two cousins about my age gave me a really hard time about it. I changed to trying to keep it simple--and now generally even young children can understand me. (I still get long-winded, from time to time, though.)

(3) My first true girlfriend (ultimately it did not work out) greatly disliked how I dressed. She remodeled me. Different shoes. Different color scheme for pants and shirts. It was a great improvement. But, I know my bride is still less than ecstatic with how I dress now--but she has not seen the need to remodel me further.

Constructive feedback now? Well...I am married so I do get some of that. :roll:


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Last edited by Double Retired on 04 Jul 2021, 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

funeralxempire
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04 Jul 2021, 1:28 pm

When I've bothered to listen to it.


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Double Retired
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04 Jul 2021, 3:13 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
When I've bothered to listen to it.
Uh...true. But then I don't know how many times that has happened. (Probably a lot more times than I'd care to know!)


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CinderashAutomaton
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04 Jul 2021, 3:34 pm

Depends who it comes from and how insightful it actually is. Or sometimes it's just dumb luck.

I've had two good therapists in my life whose feedback helped me a fair bit. Both of them helped me to temper my judgement of other and respond more constructively.

A girl coming from the viewpoint of female solidarity also inadvertently helped me to be more understanding with my sister regarding a fight we had, which also inadvertently led me to the path of considering that oftentimes conflicts come from when two people each don't have an option that can lead to a satisfactory conclusion, so the only peaceable solution is to acknowledge both people's injustice and agree to find a middle ground, and rather than be happy about the conclusion, be happy that you both worked together to find a way through an all around sh***y situation.

Honestly though, I haven't had too many opportunities for good constructive feedback. I've always been one to work things out on my own by critical thinking and knowledge seeking, and my biggest troubles have come from aspie things (and complications from which arises) so very very few people have ever known how to help me.

Unless you're talking about academic/professional feedback, in which case yes, constructive feedback from more knowledgeable folk is obligatory to get anywhere at a decent speed. For example "Work smarter, not harder" has been something I've needed hammered in frequently.


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Dear_one
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04 Jul 2021, 6:49 pm

I can't think of any significant examples. Neither of my parents could have taught you to draw potatoes, although they were skilled otherwise. Eventually, I started asking people what was normal, even if it was about things they had learned young.