Men vs. Women 101: Handling Criticism. Most non-Gamma men take constructive criticism well. My husband, for instance, will send something to a friend or colleague for assessment, and when his work gets eviscerated, he's very congenial about it and appreciates that this person took the time to identify errors and save him from embarrassment. To him, it's a kindness.
Women, on the other hand, respond to criticism very differently. Here's an example. I'm in an ongoing argument with a colleague about a scientific theory. It's an argument he initiated, but it's objectively helpful, because I'm attempting to write up a detailed treatment, and I want it to be free of errors. In our latest exchange he sent me a long-winded critique of my math wherein he concluded that I've made some errors that completely undermine the whole proposition. He's a nice, sympathetic man who just wants to understand how it all works, but when I read this criticism, I got extremely irritated. For the first moment after I skimmed his critique, I hated his guts, even though, if I truly made those errors, he's just saved me a lot of public embarrassment. (Turns out he's the one who made a fundamental error in his critique, but it was still helpful -- my explanation was far too telegraphic, which is what led to the misunderstanding.)
The lesson here? A woman will always, always, always take even benign, helpful criticism personally. Just remember that when you're dealing with women, either in your family or at work. And the more helpful you try to be, the worse you'll make it. What really made me hate his guts with a burning intensity wasn't that he pointed out what he thought were errors, but that he spent 37 pages of equations and graphs expounding on it. If he'd just said, "You goofed on the integral in equation 3" and left it to me to ask follow-up questions, I would've just been mildly irritated. But all those pages and pages were like he was saying, "THIS is how much of an idiot you are."
So, here's my advice to you. If you are going to offer a woman criticism, keep it as terse as possible. Make her ask follow-up questions if she wants to know more. Why? Because, even when you are dealing with an ostensibly rational woman, she is undoubtedly either seething with irritation or completely devastated over something you probably didn't intend at all. I bet as this guy was writing up all 37 of those pages, he was thinking, "Boy, am I being helpful with all this detail. She'll really appreciate how much time I'm taking to carefully explain everything..." Alas, that we women aren't so gracious as to default to that explanation, but that's just female nature. Save all that extra effort for the men in your lives who will understand it and appreciate it.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Alpha Mail: female communication
This is from a woman whose opinion is well worth taking seriously. Just trust me on this one: