I used to correct people a lot; I always found flaws in what people said, did, or how they said or did it. I always found something to correct. And though I thought I was helping I wasn’t. I should have let some of it slide.
Is It Wrong To Correct People?
People don’t like being corrected all the time, especially in public. I never really understood this until I came across a YouTube video titled “Resolution for Women” by Priscilla Shirer.
In the video, Priscilla talked about a man’s greatest fear; she said there are two of them;
- 1. The fear of being controlled by a woman
- 2. The fear of feeling like he is inadequate.
The second fear struck me so strongly; “the fear of being inadequate”…
Although she focused on couples, it doesn’t apply to them alone: it is true for the relationship between parents and children, friends, siblings, colleagues, employees, apprentices, etc.
Everyone has weaknesses, but no one wants their imperfections/weaknesses constantly rubbed on their faces.
Unfortunately, the easiest way to rub people’s imperfections on their faces is to always correct them (no matter your intentions or approach).
How To Correct Someone’s Behavior (Without Offending Them)
Correcting a person’s behavior requires skill and patience:
Some people repeat things not because they are not teachable or that they don’t listen to corrections, but because it’s now a “bad habit” – they’ve become so used to doing things that way – and like all habits, it will take some time for them to change.
So, how do you correct someone’s behavior? I’d give three practical ways and examples
- #1 Give Them Tools And Resources: if you have a roommate who appears to be a forgetful person, and you have tried to correct them about this, leave them be. Don’t be the one who tries to correct them over and over again; that would only lead to resentment. Rather come up with helpful hacks to help them: Maybe set an alarm for them, or create a to-do list they could use. That way you’ve helped without being irritating.
- #2 Lead By Example: If your spouse is not one to dress their beds immediately after they arise, and you’ve spoken to them about it, and it seems like they aren’t listening, don’t keep complaining – don’t whine about it. Rather, take up the responsibility of laying the bed. This Will resolve the issue by either eliminating the need/reason for correcting them, or they’ll learn from how you do it and get better
- #3 Compromise: If your partner doesn’t cook a particular dish to your taste, resist the urge to complain. if after telling them how to do it, they still don’t get it, take up cooking that particular food yourself, or simply forfeit the dish. Let it slide.
Ultimately, all that matters is the little sacrifices and compromises we can make for each other (to keep a good relationship going); that’s what makes way for love to blossom in our relationships with people.
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Constantly Correcting People Can Be Bad:
Taking the route of verbally airing your frustration all the time does a disservice to both you and the person being corrected
- Trying to correct someone who seems not to be listening can easily become frustrating. It is true little irritations can compound to become a bigger issue if not resolved early, but you need the right approach (like discussed earlier ). Having to repeat yourself over and over again can wear you out.
- “Constantly putting them down” will not allow them to change, rather it will make them more stiff-necked, and make you seem bitter. Maybe that is not your intention, but that is what it seems like.
- Also, a person that is constantly corrected tends to lose their self-esteem. People need to feel competent or good enough to function properly, and “corrections” only remind them they are not.
You need to give people room to breathe: allow them to learn and change with time. They are not light bulbs that go on and off at the flick of a switch.
Conclusion: How Letting Things Slide Makes Life Better
Allowing things to slide does not only make you appear better, but it also makes the people around you feel understood and accepted.
Letting things slide assures them that although they are not perfect, they are accepted. And that feeling of “acceptance” is a key motivator that can drive change as they try to prove to you that they value you too.
Am I saying we shouldn’t correct people? No!
My point is, you should support and give them time (to learn and change), or pick between losing them and letting that one thing slide.
The choice is yours
Folarinde Josephine is a Writer, Self-love Advocate, amidst many other things. She prefers to write and teach using her life as an example for all to see and learn from.