12 June, 2011

The Fault-Finder

Nothing you do, say, or wear is good enough for this overly critical friend. The Fault-finder was probably raised by extremely judgmental parents who were also rearing equally hypercritical siblings. Being criticized during her formative years laid the groundwork for an overly critical adult. It's a hard trait to reverse, and your friend may even be unaware that she is so critical or that it annoys and upsets you so much. Before labeling this type of friendship as hopelessly destructive, you might want to see if your friend could recognize this excessively derogatory behavior and, with time and help, change that orientation. Otherwise, you may decide that you just have to accept this trait in your friend and realize that it reflects on her, not on you or your friendship.

If you value this friend and want to try to maintain the friendship despite the Fault-finder's criticisms, try sharing with him or her how his or her behavior makes you feel. "I know you like me, and I know you may not even mean to make me feel bad, but when you find fault in everything I say or do, it makes me feel bad about myself." He or she might get defensive, even saying it's "your problem," not his or hers. But if you emphasize how the Fault-finder's behavior impacts on you, it may help him or her to reassess what he or she is saying or doing without having to be "right." Furthermore, by sharing how it makes you feel, you may be less resentful if you decide you are willing to put up with the Fault-finder.

However, if you are at your wit's end and willing to try one more thing before calling it quits, try finding fault in the Fault-finder. Those who criticize and find fault are often unable to take it from others. If you do criticize the Fault-finder, it may break the spell of negativity that is now allowing this friend to say and do anything toward you. When the shoe is on the other foot, she may suddenly have an "ah-ha" awareness of what it feels like to others. But beware: The Fault-finder might cut off your friendship forever rather than deal with your criticisms or even try to understand the larger message you are trying to convey.

(source: Jan Yager
/photo copied from another website)

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