Sensitive, Aren’t We? 2

Giving and receiving feedback can be tough.  It’s also very necessary for growth, connection and understanding.


Guess what?  Not everybody wants connection or to improve.  Not everybody wants you to fill in their blanks by giving them information they didn’t know. Not everybody wants to learn how to pronounce a word correctly or to use the proper word for what they’re trying to say (even when English is their first language).


When you assume I don’t know something that I do or suggest something that I would so obviously have tried (so obvious it’s offensive that you don’t think I would have tried it), well this leads to problems – including hurt and avoidance.


Shut your mouth if you don’t really want to help me. Zip your lip if what you’re trying to do is give me my comeuppance.  Keep it to yourself if you’re just letting me know that I “ain’t all that.”  I have already figured this out.  Be quiet if you dont ever have anything positive to say.


Chatter away if your motivation is to help me be better.  I’m all for that, I’m constantly trying to be better than I am or at least be the best I know I can be (except for the times where I just don’t  care.)  Talk to me if your motivation is to help me learn so I can do it myself next time.  (I like to be as independent as I can).


If you’ve shown me that you care for me, if you’ve offered me support at other times, I can accept your critical feedback.  In fact, even when feedback is given to deflate rather than elevate, I will still mull over what has been said and figure out whether to accept it or not.


Recently, I’ve become much more hesitant to give feedback.  I’m slowly changing into an “it’s not my job, it’s not my business and let sleeping dogs lie kind-of- person.”  Sigh…Why?  Because people do shoot the messenger, or at least roll their eyes, suck their teeth, and show other signs of being annoyed.



I was at a community meeting and a guy made a loud pronouncement against the new emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the BPS curriculum. The problem was he used a totally incorrect word several times during his rant, over-pronouncing in his effort to show authority.   It was like pronouncing the word educate as edumacate.  I wanted to pull his coat quietly after the end of the meeting but  I reeled myself back in realizing that  nothing good could come of such feedback.  I could tell from his demeanor, his defensiveness, and my experience – plus, I probably won’t ever run into this guy again.


On the other hand, I did pull a couple of kids aside who were at a job fair dressed very inappropriately and gave them a few tips and they were appreciative.  (I’d overheard them talking in line and knew they were enthusiastic if unprepared/uninformed.)


For some folks, the amount of criticism they give is proportional to the amount of love they feel for you.  Some folks can dish it but can’t eat it.  Some people have tones-of-voice that grate and berate no matter their intent.

Sensitive?  Are we?  Yes, yes we are.

If you liked this post, you might also like:  Watching You, Watching Me

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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2 thoughts on “Sensitive, Aren’t We?

  • Peggy

    Very very interesting subject you have written about Candelaria.
    On the whole we are very sensitive souls and we do shoot the messenger often.
    Like a rose, we possess a fragile beauty, but try to rough us up and you just might get pricked.

    As I age I am learning to choose when is the right time to give positive feedback and when to keep my mouth shut.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts my friend.

    Peggy xxxxx

  • Candelaria

    Like you, as I get older, I am able not to have to give feedback or even respond more than I used to.  Sometimes, however, I almost have to bite my tongue or pinch myself to keep my mouth shut.  Thanks for commenting.