Can you do me a favor? Actually, it’s really a favor for yourself. When someone comes up to you and asks this 6 letter question, I want you to say “no” and run away in the opposite direction.
What is this 6 letter question?
“Can I give you some feedback?”
No, you can’t. You can keep it to yourself.
What does this really mean? Feedback? Well I’ll tell you. What this means is this person wants to say negative comments about yourself, your outfit, your work performance and you have to graciously listen to them while you pretend it’s not criticism that they’re giving you.
I don’t mind constructive criticism. What I mind is destructive criticism, which I’m finding out is what “feedback” really means. Telling me that I probably haven’t noticed but I’m showing off a little too much in the chestal region is looking out for my well-being. Going behind my back to my supervisor and telling him that you find my cleavage offensive under the guise of “feedback” is obnoxious and solves nothing.
What is feedback, really, but someone else’s opinion. I’ve gotten a lot of “feedback” in my life. A great majority from my peers growing up was negative. Should I believe that this feedback is a good reflection of who I really am because it came from an honest place? These people honestly thought horribly of me. I’ve had bosses who have hated me. And if I listened to their feedback you’d think that I’d never be employable. Thank goodness I’ve had quite a few great bosses whom I respected and so their feedback actually matters to me. And a good number of friends throughout my life who had told me that my peers in Elementary school got it wrong – that I’m not a stupid social outcast with no hope of ever having anyone like me.
On the other hand, I think some feedback is good because it allows you some self-reflection. You can either judge that this feedback is good and internalize it for a good change in your appearance/personality/character or you can reject it judging that either the feedback giver is jealous/evil/projecting.
Here are some examples:
About a decade ago, during my sorority days, I was an officer for Greek Council (the governing body over all the Greeks at my school). Our sorority had a Greek Council liaison and it was her job in our weekly sorority meetings to report back what Greek wide news and activities were taking place. One day, after our meeting, she came up to me and said that it was really hard for her to say this but she felt like whenever it was her turn that I would sometimes take over and this made her feel unimportant. When she told me this, it was not a shock. I knew that I had a tendency to do this because I had information from the inside that she didn’t have. I apologized to her and told her that I wouldn’t do it again. And I never did. Even when the Sorority President would ask me something Greek Council related I would direct her to ask Tiffany. I realized that I was doing something wrong and it gave me the self-reflection that I needed. I was attention seeking and I needed to share the spotlight.
An example of when the “feedback” I got was really just jealous criticism also comes from my sorority days. There was one girl in my sorority who was constantly talking about others behind their backs. I had/have a large chest (God-given, no surgery here) and she had a chest that rivaled a young teenage boy’s. She was constantly making negative comments about my breast size, whether it was that my t-shirt showed them off too much, I wore a strapless shirt and shouldn’t be allowed to do that, etc. It was very annoying. I could have internalized it and thought there was something wrong with me, even though there was nothing I could do to help it, or I could have worn potato sacks so she would feel more comfortable with her own body. I figured that she was just jealous because she had mosquito bites and I have a Marilyn Monroe type body. Sorry, there’s nothing I can do about that.
The next time I hear someone ask me if they can give me some feedback, I’m going to run away. I don’t care what you have to say!!! I don’t go around giving others “feedback” about their clothes, attitude, cleavage, and/or work habits. If you’re not my boss, keep your feedback to yourself. Unless it’s coming from a place of love, and then I welcome it.
I would appreciate your feedback (wink)