Maybe I'm just an asshole...
November 2, 2011 9:53 AM Subscribe
How or when is it okay to "correct" your SO?
posted by doomtop to Human Relations (62 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I have a tendency in general to "correct" people when I see them doing something in a way I think is incorrect or not optimal. It often comes off as being an asshole, much to my detriment. I try to subdue it, but it has always been a part of my character and my success has been limited. My comments can be critical, but not intended in a mean-spirited way. I just feel like if I were doing something wrong and didn't realize it, I would want someone to let me know, so that I could learn and not continue making the same mistake in front of them.
So I am working on it in general, but professionally it has often been beneficial to putting me into a position of authority and someone who everyone goes to with questions, help making decisions, when they need assistance, etc. etc. In a professional environment, it seems much less personal and my criticism is taken the way I intended it.
In my personal relationships, I know it's no longer my job to "improve" my friends and family. But it often slips out without even realizing. Those close enough to me know I do this and usually they can point it out and I can stop or backtrack before feelings get hurt.
It can also be trying for people who aren't being paid to work for me. I often question people's actions extensively in order to figure out why they are doing something the way they are doing it before I go ahead and "correct" them. Partially to understand their thought process and how they came to a decision and also I am afraid that I am not understanding something and what they are doing is actually more "correct" and pointing out a mistake that isn't a mistake makes it all come across much, much worse, and embarrassing.
My closest personal relationship is with my girlfriend of about five months. This is the best, healthiest, most awesome relationship I have ever experienced and I don't want this kind of defectiveness to mess anything up. I also don't want to have to pretend to be someone I'm not though. We are both a bit obsessive, so there is some level of mutual understanding, but I can tell it gets on her nerves when I question her about things when she thinks I should just know already or could reasonably figure it out or assume.
We have yet to have a real argument about anything serious. The only things we argue about really are communication issues, sometimes those revolving around this thing that I do. These arguments are rare; we've had three since getting together and otherwise things are wonderful.
At the end of these arguments, I feel disappointed and frustrated for "failing" to be a good partner and she feels disappointed and frustrated that I feel like I've "failed". She tells me that I shouldn't feel that way and that she just gets frustrated in the moment when I question her so much.
So I guess my question is how I can let her know things that she might not realize without seeming so critical or condescending?
I've tried telling her later on or the next day, rather than in the moment she is doing something "wrong" but I'm not sure that really helped. It kind of made it into more of a big deal because I held on to it and didn't just toss it out casually in the moment.
Or do I just simply need to stop doing this completely? I'm trying and would take suggestions on how to identify the behavior quicker or preempt it. But I also struggle with not being completely honest by holding things back because I might offend.