Rebuke

The word rebuke[1] may make you feel uncomfortable. I view it as a good thing.

The benefits of a good rebuke, well-received are difficult to overstate. It can save years of professional setbacks, interpersonal relationship issues, and even financial loss.

It may not be unwise to explore increasing the number of rebukes between people closest to you.

Person A wronged you. Person B’s behavior negatively effects people around them and they don’t seem to notice. Person A is your friend. Person B is your co-worker, family member.

These scenarios are common and it is unfortunately also common for close friends who want to speak up to decide against it for fear of damaging the relationship.

I think it is worthwhile to acknowledge this dilemma and take action to remove the mental anguish friends may feel regarding their decision to rebuke or not. One way to start along this path is to ensure friends know that they don’t need to worry about upsetting you or damaging the friendship by saying something critical.

However, I don’t think this goes far enough. There are a few other obstacles that need to be overcome:

  1. Thinking the concern is over a matter too small to initiate an uncomfortable conversation
  2. Not paying close enough attention to notice any issues
  3. When issues are noticed, they are not recorded and forgotten or deprioritized

The countermeasures to these pitfalls are to share how to collect specific examples and to assure them that no concern is too small to share. I think it is actually helpful to receive seemingly small and trivial rebukes because it helps me get used to receiving rebukes without reacting in anger or defensiveness.

[1] I considered using other words: correction, constructive criticism, improvement suggestion. I decided to use the word rebuke because it is very specific to the type of scenario that I’m writing about and it discourages sugarcoating.

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