The Inability To Take Suggestions / Criticism

Posted by on December 19, 2012

Recently I had a situation arise where I found myself wanting to help someone else out. Specifically, it had to do with a particular geocacher and something they had done.

Now the thing is, most of the time I tend to just keep my opinions or suggestions to others to myself unless I am face to face with the person. But now and then I figure that a little friendly suggestion to others isn’t harmful at all. Well, I certainly learned to keep my mouth shut.

I sent this person a quick little email and mentioned how something they had done could cause some issues for other cachers. I didn’t tell them what to do but just told them what had happened before and that maybe in the future they might want to reconsider what they had done. I then received an email back basically tell me to piss off and that if I didn’t like the way they were doing it,  maybe I should do it for them.

A response like that, although not very polite, was annoying and frustrating because all I was trying to do was help. Ok, fine, you don’t want my advice, that’s perfectly fine. But then said person decides to go on Facebook and go off on a rant about how people are telling them how to do things and that maybe they should just give up what they are doing because they are getting so many emails making friendly “suggestions” and that no one is appreciating what they are doing.

I read the message and was pretty surprised. It would seem that I was not the only person who had sent them an email about certain things. Turns out they’ve received several other emails about subjects similar to the one I sent. Apparently all friendly, but definitely enough for this person to decide to go on a Facebook rant about people’s lack of appreciation.

I had replied to the piss off email and was quite frank about how I was just trying to make a friendly suggestion and not tell them how they HAD to do anything. I also told them that since they weren’t interested in being polite about it, that I would be sure never to make a suggestion again.

I read another comment from this same person today on Facebook and it certainly became clear what the issue was (from my perspective anyway). It seems that when some people start working on something and have been doing it their own way for awhile, when others come along and give them suggestions or give a bit of criticism of the things they do, some people interpret that as someone pissing all over their hard work. It seems that it doesn’t matter how friendly or how well meaning your message is, some people don’t want to hear it. They are going to do it their way and no one else’s suggestions matter.

It’s not like this is a giant revelation to me as many people don’t take well to criticism. What I don’t like is how folks then decide to go on a long rant on Facebook defending what they do when no one else has any idea what in fact has been said or suggested. It’s a very one sided point of view and when I read something like that, and I know there is a whole other side that people aren’t aware of, it irks me. No, there’s nothing I can do about it, and no I shouldn’t care, but it does irritate me to some extent.

Regardless, I learned my lesson. Unless I really know the person I am dealing with, I think that it might be better for me to just keep my suggestions to myself and then smile when I see the inevitable outcome. Either that or post a meaningless blog entry about my frustration 🙂

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