About a year ago, I posted something on Facebook that hurt a friend. It wasn’t intentional. I thought it was witty and true, but with her life experiences, she saw it differently. She contacted me privately, brought it to my attention and explained why it hurt her. She also said “I know your heart and I know it wasn’t intentional. I just wanted to give you another way to think about this”.
She could have handled this differently. She could have criticized me In a public forum. She could have stewed in her hurt until it turned to anger, written off the friendship, or just unfriended me. She chose not to do any of these things, because she had earned a place in my life where we both felt comfortable with her coming to me and addressing it. I was not angry with her for doing so. I saw it through her eyes, apologized and removed the post.
There was another situation this past year with a casual acquaintance that did not go as well. Like my above friend, she did not like something I posted. Instead of contacting me privately or saying nothing and moving on, she chose to tell me that I was rude and disrespectful, among a few other things.
There were a few problems with this. She doesn’t know my heart and doesn’t know that I would never intentionally hurt anyone. She chose to criticize ME, not my action, which put me on the defensive. Instead of explaining her position on it or why it bothered her, she insulted me. In that moment, I lost respect for someone that was a potential friend.
I have many people in my life – friends, family, acquaintances. I enjoy my relationship with most of them. Some of them have earned the “right” to speak into my life and they do this out of respect for our relationship and love for me. They KNOW me. They KNOW my intentions. They also know the best way to approach me. They speak love into my life, not condemnation. These are the people I welcome feedback from, because it doesn’t feel like criticism.
I will be honest, in the reverse situation, I don’t always handle this the way I should. I am trying to stop and ask myself:
1. Do I know this person’s heart or intentions?
2. Have I earned a “right” to give feedback in their life?
3. Will they (or I) benefit from giving feedback?
4. Does this person already know how much I love and care for them?
If my answer to any of the above questions is no, I don’t proceed. I haven’t earned the right.
Have you ever been involved in a similar situation?