How to Critique Something Others Love

There will be times when you have to shut down others’ good ideas, reject their propositions, and critique the things they’ve worked hard in building.

On the road toward the best ideas, auxiliary ones will fall by the wayside. They’ll be sacrificed for better ones to rise up and become the norm. As a facilitator of positive growth, you’ll sometimes find yourself in positions that dictate you to make tough emotional decisions. You can find yourself leading others, being a central decision maker, or a trusted adviser who has to select the better option between multiple good ones.

Knowing how to critique the things that others hold dear to their hearts will be an important skill to possess.

There are people who are skilled in operating by way of quantifiable truth. They’re good at collecting evidence and forming arguments infused with good, reliable sources. They’re good at proving mediocre ideas, theories, and actions wrong with ones which are more aligned with truth.

This article does not attempt to arm you with skills in the quantitative realms of argumentation. It hopes to encourage you to look past those realms and venture into attempting to become a conductor of emotion. To expect people to operate in emotionless ways in the face of being proven wrong is an unreliable pretense. Though you may successfully deconstruct their good ideas with quantifiable poise, looking past how they feel about your act of doing so can birth unnecessary issues down the line.

This article aims to be a guide on limiting negative emotional responses in those whose interests you reject / critique.

What Intrinsic Factors Make Their Ideas, Habits, and Actions Good

An itch you’ll have to scratch will be one of validating others’ ideas in some form. Even if you have unsurpassed evidence for why what they believe, do, or possess is bad, hold tight for just a bit. First, focus on the aspects of what you seek to critique which enticed them to love it in the first place. Mention the intrinsically good aspects of what you’re attempting to disprove. Mention all the benefits.

For instance, if critiquing the behavior of someone’s aggressive dog, mention the intrinsically good reasons for why that dog may be misbehaving. Attempt to touch on its aspects of being protective of its owner and of its territory. Focus on how good of a guardian that dog is.

Rather than opening with all the things intrinsically wrong with the dog’s behavior in that moment, you’d serve to comfort the owner in a time when most would act out in attack.

Finding things which are intrinsically good is not difficult to do with an open mind. Simply focus on what possible reasons others have for liking a certain thing, idea, or behavior. Describe those reasons right back to them to validate your understanding of their psychology. They’ll go on to perceive you to be in tune with their truth, as truth to them, entails realizing the intrinsically good traits of what they possess, believe, or do.

What Extrinsic, Unavoidable, External, Factors Make Those Same Things Bad

The next step in critiquing or disproving a truth which others hold dear, is to analyze how it clashes with its setting or environment.

Think about how a dog’s setting or environment entices it to bark and attack. Think about how the status and structure of roads make one car less effective than another in certain respects. Think about what about the wind, rain, and sun make one type of roof tile a better option than another.

Rather than focusing on the intrinsic shortcomings of the things you’re criticizing, present the shortcomings to be related to the uncontrollable nature of the setting or environment those things are in.

In doing so, you’ll give people a good reason / excuse to agree with you. It’ll be a way out of being stuck in a mindset that demands they defend what they hold dear. They’ll have an easier time agreeing with you if you present the shortcomings of what they love to be caused by external, uncontrollable factors rather than ones which are intrinsic to that thing.

Once you develop an understanding of how much of a factor external variables play in the quality of someone’s truth, you can then list those shortcomings safely. Each shortcoming of the thing you criticize should be connected to how it is misaligned with the context around it, not how it’s inherently bad itself.

Try not to present shortcomings as native to the thing you’re critiquing. Make it known that the car you’re critiquing in this instance, would be an amazing car if it were subject to different variables. Ensure to mention that you’ve seen the violent dog act kindly toward its owner and their kids, and that it must be an amazing dog when strangers aren’t around.

Motivate the people whose beloved things you criticize to evaluate how those things fit in the world that surrounds them. Rather than having them leave the conversation with you in a defensive mindset, attempt to establish one of growth. Be balanced and sensitive to emotion in your approach of critiquing the things that others like.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.