To correct or not to correct, that is the question. The answer is it depends. So, when the urge strikes you to correct someone else’s behavior, Stop, Look and Listen. First off, notice your intention. Are you sincerely attempting to be supportive or are you being superior, right and proper? Next, assess the situation. Is the primary objective of the interaction served by correcting the other person in this area? And last, but not least, pay attention to your tone.
Correcting someone can be a very supportive act that brings you a deeper connection, or it can be a surefire way to disconnect in a matter of a split second. Choose wisely.
My dad, whom, I loved very much, used to correct my grammar relentlessly. His intention was noble, but he was not always aware of the bigger picture of the circumstance. He did not ask himself whether the primary objective of a particular interaction was best served by ensuring perfect grammar, or if something else different and more important might be going on. I remember calling him in tears from college about something that had happened at school, and mid story he interrupted me to correct my grammar – boom – shut down – disconnection. And to this day that’s the only part of the conversation I remember.
Yesterday, mid-conversation, a friend corrected my mispronunciation of a foreign country. It wasn’t especially helpful in furthering our interaction in this particular situation – I noticed my reaction and the brief disconnection that occurred and kept going. But, if my spouse was about to give a presentation at the U.N. by all means I’d correct him, and he’d be very grateful that I did.
Today, at the gym with my workout buddy, I corrected her technique. I Stopped, Looked, and Listened when the urge to correct grabbed me. First off, we had a prior agreement to support one another’s progress by making helpful corrections. Second, I was conscious of my tone. Third, I noticed her reaction prior to proceeding any further. And, I complimented her on the part of her technique I noticed she was doing really well. Successful correction connection, we emerged more powerful and more deeply connected than before.