When it comes to feedback, it feels better to give than receive.

Big Loud Mean Voice: No shit Sherlock!

Well, it’s good to know she’s still around. By the way when I say things in BLMV at home my partner now teases the shit out of me. He delights in wagging his finger and saying how I’m not much of a reformed asshole after all and be sure to put that in my blog. (done!) My daily pledge to remain non-violent stands, but back to feedback.

When it comes to critiques & questions, it feels far better to give than receive. I bless you all with pearls of hard-won wisdom, see how easy it is to give? Receiving feedback, no matter how well-intentioned, is very challenging. “Beware the trolls!” my friends say, pfft, I say, I fear not trolls.

BLMV: I AM the asshole the trolls should fear!

I then tun off the comments section on my blog. I suck at receiving feedback. Until recently I just criticized myself first, I was my #1 critic, that’s how BLMV got lots of experience and mileage. If, heaven forbid, you had a criticism that was valid I’d puff up and bluster like no one’s business.

When you are a puffed up asshole people are afraid to give you feedback, especially about when you are an asshole, so to turn the tide you have to ask for feedback. At first, no one will dare tell you anything is wrong, ever. They are scared of you. Remember the last time you bullied someone into silence or showed them up?

BLMV: YA, it was fucking HILARIOUS!

it kind of was…I mean…

One thing that seems to work at opening the lines of communication is to model giving feedback. Start with positive feedback, it’s easier and if you screw it up, because let’s face it, you don’t do this a lot, people will take it well anyway. I find it easiest to give positive feedback when it is genuine and timely. Right away if you can manage it. If this is hard you may actually have to plan to give positive feedback. Try one person a day. My eldest son is scheduled on Monday so he often get’s the “hey, you smell not bad today”. Yes, a teenager smelling neutral is positive, and yes, if you are a big asshole you will need to set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind yourself to give positive feedback to a person.

Once you knock a few genuine thank you type feedbacks out of the park you can start cutting your teeth on the doozies, the dreaded constructive feedback. My favourite is explaining the feedback rule to people. If someone asks you for feedback, give it, otherwise keep it to yourself! That is really, really hard to do.

I walk down the street and want to tell people not to keep their mouth in the “I just ate cat shit” position but they aren’t asking for my feedback so I shut the fuck up.

When people do ask for your feedback, admit it if you are not good at doing it, takes the weirdness down by about a thousand notches. Ask for time to compose your feedback, ask why they want feedback, get the lay of the land. Now this is the hardest part, imagine you are going to receive this feedback, how would you feel?

BLMV: WOW, you just had an empathetic moment, take a picture, blog about it.

Then do it. Try giving positive feed back 10 times more often than constructive feedback. ya, 10 times. Turns out people are so impacted by negative stuff you need 10 times the nice messaging for it to penetrate. So get out there and tell someone they are smart, funny, witty and only tell them their grammar and spelling sucks on the tenth time. I’m waiting…get on it!