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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Don't Criticize, Condemn or Complain

Interested to learn about a basic fundamental principle for good human relations? Want a simple and effective method to improve your interpersonal relationships?

This post talks about the simple, yet effective principle of: "Don't Criticize, Condemn or Complain"

This is the first principle listed within the category of "Fundamental Techniques in Handling People" as mentioned in Dale Carnegie's best selling book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

So what does it entail? Simple, it is exactly what it says it is. Do not criticize, condemn or complain. Simple and easy. No encrypted message, no hidden meanings. Just refrain from criticizing, condeming or complaining.

Why is this technique so effective in interpersonal relationships?

You may feel that the other person has done something wrong, but the reality is; people never blame themselves for anything. As a result, we tend to get defensive when blamed or criticized for something.

Take for instance lets say that you lost your wallet. A concerned friend or family member might say something like, "Why are you so careless? Can't you be more careful?"

Such a remark criticizing the action of losing the wallet, even though it was made out of concern, generally will have a negative effect on the receiving party.

A person, when criticized, may seek to justify himself and may respond defensively in a manner such as "Do you think i want to lose my wallet?" or "People lose things all the time, you are no different."

This exercise shows us how criticism, even made out of a spirit of care and concern, may lead to defensive responses or even misunderstandings.

If something so gentle can turn out so wrong, imagine the negative effect of criticisms, made in the heat of anger must have on a person. The same truths hold for both condemnation as well as complaining.

As Dale Carnegie so eloquently put it: "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving."

So the next time you see something that you don't like, do refrain from criticism and seek to be more understanding and forgiving towards the other person.

If you are interested, you can check out my post about "Winning Friends and Influencing People."

Similarly, if you have enjoyed this post, do bookmark this post or subscribe to this blog. Thanks... :)


Unknown said...

I don't know, you know what they say about 'Real friends tell you what's wrong'. But then again, I won't even think of complaining or criticising if I'm that familiar with the opposite party.

Wenbin Nah said...

My opinion is that you can tell them that they are wrong, but do it indirectly, not in a direct manner such as criticism which wounds a person's precious pride.

The way to do this will be mentioned in future postings. :)

Ray Gratzner said...

I like this post, because it will better the realtionships. We always can tell our opinion without criticizing, very wise....

Patricia Rockwell said...

Yes, Wenbin says it best. You can get that constructive criticism across to a friend without being negative yourself. Just couch your ideas as suggestions and keep it positive. What you are suggesting is an idea to help a fantastic person become even more fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I don't complain or condemn. But I criticize often. I have to get rid of that habit but it looks to be very difficult task. I criticize when I want things in better way. Some take it positively and others not. Still I get friends.

Anonymous said...

I think healthy or constructive criticism is very good thing. It must be done with the person involved though and not behind him or her. Good post.

You put it out here in a great way. Have you written some books on communication or something?

WebbieLady said...

i always criticize but at the end, i try to find reason and put myself in the shoes of others. i barely complain nor condemn. it is bad to condemn! Do you agree?

Wenbin Nah said...

@ ray, patricia

Thanks for the complement


Its extremely flattering that you think that i'm good enough to write books about this stuff.

I'm just a regular guy who as a result of bad experiences relating to people in the past, have taken an interest in the field of interpersonal communications and now has set up this blog to share this valuable knowledge with everybody.


I agree that it is bad to condemn, if that is what you are asking. Its great that you are placing yourself in the shoes of others. Seeing a situation from the other person's viewpoint is another important aspect of interpersonal communications and is something that i have continually emphasized.

Unknown said...

i know criticising is bad at the same time a wrong.but i dont want to criticize anybody.it is like sometimes when i am so so close to someone i say everything stored inside my heart.later i realise that i criticized so much for a single topic.Trust me i think and say...but later it pinch me which is unbearable..also nobody wants to criticise but situations when makes an individual irritated they criticise....help me ..its urgent thx

Wenbin Nah said...

Hi Veena,

Since you can't stop yourself from criticizing a loved one, perhaps you should focus instead on directing your criticism in a positive and constructive manner.

Make sure that the person whom you are criticising knows that you are criticising because you care and not because you are a nag.

For example, if your family member is getting fat, don't say, "You are getting fat, you fat slob." Instead, start by saying, "Peter, you know how much i care about you and your health. Recently, i noticed that you've been gaining a few pounds and i thought you might want to be informed about this."

Start off by being positive. A message of love and concern never fails. :)

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