Do Someone A Favor By Criticizing Their Faults

Modern society teaches people to rarely if ever criticize another person.  When people are in mentor positions where they have to tell a pupil how they are doing, they are encouraged to give out criticism that is nine parts “you are doing awesome” and one part “but it could be a little better if.”  However, in many cases this is not the best way to encourage someone to do better.

I am not saying that negative criticism is the best in all cases.  Every person and situation is different so you should approach each one differently.  Never giving positive encouragement will cause a person to burn out and quit over time, but using praise too often, especially when it is undeserved praise, can be just as devastating.

In my kung fu class a few years ago one of the recently appointed student instructors tried to do a spinning leg sweep on me during sparring.  It didn’t take out my leg, but it did kind of hurt (which was much more than I could do at the time and he started training at about the same time as me), so I congratulated him on how his sweep had gotten much better after the sparring was over.  After I did this one of the younger instructors came up and told him in these exact words,

“Your sweeps suck, [pointing at me] because he is still standing.”

About a year later, I was sparring with him again and it didn’t take long for me to learn that if I wanted to stay on my feet I would need to jump back and get out of the way any time I saw him preparing for a sweep.  A person on the street who didn’t know him wouldn’t stand a chance.


There is no doubt in my mind that my instructor’s biting criticism helped him out much more than my beta positive encouragement.  Negative criticism gave my friend real incentive to do better and left him to figure out on his own how to do better instead of someone holding him by the hand.

Another personal example is when I was taking piano lessons as a young kid about eight or ten years old.  My mother signed me up for piano lessons with a hippie, new age piano teacher who flooded me with positive encouragement.  However, she was completely unwilling to ever tell me that I was doing anything wrong.  Useful advice was replaced by encouraging me to feel the music and let it come out naturally.

Since none of my mistakes were ever being corrected, I really sucked at playing the piano.  In fact after two years of playing the piano I never learned that I was supposed to hold a quarter note for twice as long as an eighth note.  I had no concept of timing whatsoever so I played every note on the page as a quarter note even if it was an eighth, half, or sixteenth note.


At that young age I had a nagging suspicion that something was wrong because the music I played didn’t sound like the music played by professional musicians at all.  My mother and my piano teacher could easily see that I was terrible at playing the piano so they decided that unceasing and uncompromising positive reinforcement was the best way to keep me from becoming discouraged and quitting.

Despite my doubts I didn’t believe at my young age that my mother and my nice piano teacher would lie to me so I came to the logical conclusion that I simply had a different “style” than all the other piano players.  I kept doing what I was doing since I didn’t see any reason to change.  If someone had come up to me and said…

“Hey dumbass, you’re playing that wrong.  You are supposed to hold those notes longer than those other notes.”

…then I would have thanked him and possibly gone on to become a decent pianist, a skill that would no doubt come in quite handy.

Never be afraid to tell anyone, especially a child, when they are doing something incorrectly.  Refusing to harshly correct someone who is on the wrong path in order to spare their feelings is one of the most selfish things that you can do.  You are dooming that person to a life of mediocrity and never reaching their full potential.

Read Next: The Golden Rule Works

60 thoughts on “Do Someone A Favor By Criticizing Their Faults”

  1. But sometimes you need to coat the criticism with sugar or even deliver it in a very indirect way, especially when you’re a leader or manager of a group of people. Sensitive betas can easily find your criticism “offensive” and decide to turn against you and ruin whatever project you were working on. That’s from experience.

  2. In an age where kids (and subsequent adults) can do no wrong, this article is very timely. We all need a cold splash of water on our faces once in a while to set us back on track. Remove the pail of cold water, and look at what you get: our modern society, where praise is plentiful, but hard work and good character is not.

    1. “In an age where kids (and women) can do no wrong, this article is very timely.”
      Fixed it for you.

  3. For a person who has the ability to breathe with a closed mouth or read without mouthing the words, there’s always a way to select the tone of your criticism to apply the right amount of positive or negative criticism. Both are supremely useful. I manage a large crew of not-very-sensitive men, so my criticism is usually along the lines of “You (add task here) like a fuckin’ fag,” but the special snowflakes just out of college get useless when you’re strongly negative, so I try to provide more positive reinforcement… something like “Did your boyfriend teach you to (add task here)?”
    See? It’s all in the tone.
    In all honesty, with men, it really is more effective to use strong negative judgement as a means to foster improved performance, except in narrowly-defined circumstances where emotions run too high. We build each other up as a side product of social conformity within our dominance hierarchy. So long as a man isn’t afraid to seek out his place within there, anyhow. Some young guys just are too afraid of themselves to even attempt to build ego through attempted accomplishment.

  4. You’re paying the teacher for criticism so that you can get better. My singing teacher never holds back on what I should improve, and if he ever does praise me, it means a LOT more. My Mom is a piano teacher, and her students are amazing simply because she’s hard on them. You don’t qualify for the Van Cliburn competition without a teacher who rips your playing apart. It’s not about you, personally, it’s about your performance. Ego doesn’t belong in the picture. You must suspend your ego in order to get better.

    1. There’s a very exclusive sushi restaurant in Japan that’s hard to get reservations for and is known to be the best in the world. There’s a documentary about it. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
      One of the cook apprentices had tried many, many times to get a certain dish correct and to the layman, it seemed he did. Not to the head chef, in fact, it took him a very long time to perfect it, but when he finally got the *nod* he cried.
      That’s how you achieve greatness. Being held to a high standard without any leeway given because it would hurt your feelings. Now he can truly say he mastered something.

  5. Actually, I think the problem in our society is that’s all people do, all the time, is criticize others and try to tear them down. It makes for a very nihilistic existence.
    I was actually thinking about this very topic the other day. Even the men in our society now behave like a bunch of nagging, bitching and moaning women. It’s aggravating as hell to be around. You should be in my workplace and listen to the “men” in here. Any criticism that’s directed at me (and I get a lot, being a Red Pill kinda guy who doesn’t follow the “prescribed” politically correct lifestyle, pop culture, fads, and trends like the rest of the sheep) doesn’t have a constructive purpose in mind. It’s literally just throwing shit up on the wall to see what sticks; mean-spirited, I just want to ruin your fun and make you feel bad about yourself type of shit. Luckily, I don’t seek approval from the lowlifes around me and couldn’t care less about their opinions which they endlessly pontificate on.
    I’ve never been around more experts on film, music, sports, and food in my life. Each one of them thinks they’re a fucking oracle. I always think to myself, if you’re such an expert on acting, directing, and film, why not go show everyone in Hollywood how to be a success instead of sitting around here wasting your genius in this low-paying, dead-end job. They’re always aghast when I make a comment like that.
    I am very open to criticism if it makes logical, rational points. In fact, I love a good debate. But as I said, criticism in the workplace and in most social circles in ‘Murica isn’t about that. It’s a very womanly type of criticism, the type women direct at each other, which almost always ends in reductio ad absurdum nonsense and has no productive quality whatsoever.
    So, what we lack is criticism that actually has a purpose beyond leveling attacks and playing workplace politics.

    1. Fuck other peoples criticism. Its worthless to me.
      Nobody is a harsher critic of me than myself. I will call myself a simp, an idiot, too slow, too weak, too stupid.
      The nice thing about being your own critic is that it never lets up.

      1. True. As an INTJ, I know this well. Self awareness however is often everyone’s weakest point so outside perspective is crucial.

        1. Unenlightened outside perspective by someone who knows zilch about your life means nothing.
          Only accept criticism from close friends and family. And the converse also applies: if you know a close friend or family member who needs to get their act together, it’s your duty to tell them what they’re doing wrong. Let them get mad at you, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t tell them you’re betraying them.

    2. I notice a lot of young guys have this annoying upward lilt at the end of every sentence, like sentence is sarcastic question. It’s a cue they’ve picked up from females.
      But the days of rational criticism are over. If you criticize someone on their merits or value, then you’re a judgemental bigot. The only valid criticisms are emotional in nature, because this allows the speaker to create a victim, and victimhood grants legitimacy in Western society.
      “You’re mean”, “That’s offensive”, “Muh feelins” and so on.

  6. Allow me to “criticize someones faults”.
    GhostOfJefferson and Hell Biker.
    You comments fucking suck.

    1. Weird GhostofJefferson and HellBiker haven’t even commented on this article…

    2. Yes, yes, and yes. Finding a woman of low self-worth and brainwashing the fuck out of her is nothing to brag about. Really you guys, how hard is it to keep an aging, chubby, wife around your house without her cheating? If this is something a guy can be proud of, he should also brag about ‘frame’ while keeping a pet pig.

    3. Being a bit broad brush are we?? I happen to like GOJ and HB’s comments. Even if I didn’t it is their right to express opinions…

  7. This is why I have a strong value of the relationship with my shotokan sensei. He’s one of the few people who will criticize me without hesitation, and in an instructor, that’s always what you want.

  8. Fat acceptance and “curvy” women on dating sites? Criticize. Morbid feminism? Criticize. Any blue bill pastime a beta could be caught up in? Criticize. Criticize, shame and don’t allow them to feel comfortable…it could save a life.

    1. AJameis has it right. Criticize cunts. They deserve it. You may offer helpful advice to a man, but don’t ever criticize him.

  9. “About a year later, I was sparring with him again and it didn’t take long for me to learn that if I wanted to stay on my feet I would need to jump back and get out of the way any time I saw him preparing for a sweep. ”
    And because I could see it coming I would have told him he still sucked.
    The warriors’ way is never easy.

    1. It is impossible to avoid telegraphing a movement that starts with moving your entire body from a standing position down to ground level.

  10. I find that the persons who get the harshest criticism are the people who excel. America has become such a bastion of mediocrity that anyone who eclipses the commonplace are immediately beat down to appease those of lesser ability and weaker egos. I’m sure I don’t have to point out those of lesser ability and weaker egos that need appeasing. But, I also agree with the statement “Nobody is a harsher critic of me than myself.” You know yourself better than anyone, if you have any pragmatism at all you will constantly evaluate your actions and appraise yourself according to the outcomes…

  11. A lot of people are sheltered and told they are special. anyonethat goes against that idiom are aholes goes against everything they thought they knew. Most people aren’t ready to hear the truth

  12. Do everyone a fucking favor and work on yourself, never bothering to criticize anyone unless that someone interferes with you becoming your best.
    It’s something I see too often now. We had an intern come into the office a few months back. On her second day, she offered advice to a guy who has been in the business 30+ years. Had an intern. I’m sure she’ll be fine, given that she knows everything.
    Anyone who owns a pair of skis, even though they never ski, is quick to offer advice to someone who takes to the powder every season. Guitar-playing, fashion choices, marathon training, everything.
    If someone asks for your honest opinion, give it to them. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut. Self-awareness leads to the best things. Be honest: no one criticized your blue pill thinking and told you to come here; you found the way yourselves.

    1. Eh.
      They might’ve come here sooner had somebody criticized their blue pill thinking.
      The unfortunate truth is that the very nature of leftists is unwarranted interference in the lives of others. They can’t even tolerate the presence of someone who doesn’t believe in their feels & equalities, and thus we have no choice but to criticize them.

      1. The thing about criticism is —>> people with integrity EMBRACE it.
        If someone can’t handle criticism, they are not in the big leagues. Like in the case of women / leftists / feminists et al.
        One can have differential treatment – OR they can have “respect”. They can NOT. HAVE. BOTH.
        Criticism is a GOOD thing. It means you’re being regarded as a PEER – or an”equal”. But criticize a woman / feminist / leftist and they will think you’re treating them like an “inferior”. Criticizing them forces them to question their own belief systems, and if they actually do that….. they will be forced to accept what they believe is built on a foundation of lies.
        That’s why they hate it, and cry “abuse”, “bullying”, “misogyny” and a “war on women” because they think they are being attacked. Criticism is intended to elevate standards…. to see if someone is worthy of RESPECT. But they don’t see the value in that.
        Integrity is the opposite of hypocrisy. Those who hold integrity as a virtue will expect hypocrites to account for their discrepancies or alter their beliefs. But as we all know, hold a mirror up to a hypocrite and they crumble. They just don’t understand the tremendous benefit of criticism – or how it’s a GOOD thing. And that’s why they are not – and can never be – “equals”.

        1. There is an assumption here that the critic is actually correct. It is not uncommon for a person to criticize things that they simply do not understand.
          Two things on Simon Cowell. A) he knows what the hell he is talking about, and b) he is in many cases just being insulting for entertainment purposes just because he can. In normal circumstances, pre-X-Factor, these clowns would never be in the same room as him. His staff would have thrown their demos in the trash before Cowell even heard of them.
          I also do not believe he gives a shit about whether they succeed or not. He gets money from doing the show, not making sure they have a 40 year career like Elton John. And if they fail a year after they win the show, he has somebody else waiting to take over.

      2. Criticizing an acquaintance’s blue pill thinking is stupid, most people are so deep in it all you’ll do is ostracize yourself.

        1. You say that like it’s some kind of loss. That’s like saying it’s stupid to quit a job to become your own boss.
          Besides, the time for criticizing them is over. Criticizing them implies they have a shot at earning any respect. With the way they have over-leveraged and over-extended….. they should be humiliated.

        2. One should never aspire to even BEING an “employee”. The days of “loyalty”, pensions, and rewards for such an investment of the greater chunk of your time are over…. when todays corporations will lay off a mortgage paying father and husband without a second thought – simply because profits dipped 10% last quarter.
          There is simply no benefit in being an “employee” anymore.
          Ostracizing oneself from a situation where you jump out of bed at 6:30 AM after being jolted by an alarm, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and fight traffic to get to a place (even on days you don’t feel like it) to essentially make money for someone ELSE…. would be doing oneself a huge favor, and at the same time, you get to write your own rules, your own paycheck, and work only as hard as you feel like it.
          Red pill men starve this system. Instead of working 70+ hours for decades facing the back of a cubicle. We fuck marriage and slavery right in the ass, work only 30 hours, and support ourselves, riding motor bikes, drinking milk from the carton, leaving the toilet seat up and conquer mountains of poon.
          The purpose of having a “job” is simply to make enough money to do the things you WANT to do when you’re not working.
          The 95% live to work.
          Red pill Men work to LIVE.

      3. Or they might have become defiant and more set in their ways after feeling insulted by your “criticism”. Its hard to predict how any one individual might react to criticism.

    2. That’s right, OP wants to be criticized, but most people don’t.
      So unless it’s a family member or a close friend you care about, don’t try to correct them until they ask.

    3. Exactly this. Plenty of real, honest studies have shown that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. The key, though is consistent reinforcement. All too often people give positive feedback when none is warranted, or give unfair biting criticism. Maybe Op just had bad teachers.

      1. The problem is that overly sensitive people confuse constructive criticism for negative reinforcement.
        If the criticism is constructive, then by definition it is positive.
        People need to f’kin grow up.

    4. You’re missing the crucial mediator, which is expertise. Generally speaking, interns don’t have enough to be critiquing people. But who knows? Somewhere in the world is an intern who does know more than his boss, and the boss would benefit from enough humility to take advice from an underling. By and large, guidance flows downhill. And it should. But don’t use “work on yourself” as a defense mechanism to shield your faults from others.

    5. Quite right. Unsolicited “advice” is never appreciated and likely to earn you a middle-finger. In the context of martial arts and other instructor-student relationships you are actually paying for criticism. It is welcomed because it is usually constructive and because you need it to improve.

  13. Not everyone deserves criticism. Criticism should be reserved for those who act, for those who can think for themselves, for those who have common sense. Most people lack these qualities, they can continue on living their fruitless lives free of judgement.

  14. Timely article. We live in the “everyone gets a trophy” era . No dodgeball , no climbing rope, no 2nd or 3rd place. Everyone is a “WINNER”!!! We are seeing the mental dysfunction now with the skyrocketing use of psych meds , ADHD , suicides..

  15. sorry i’m a music teacher and usually at a young age, some things are herder to correct. also, as a music teacher making the money is the focus.

  16. A man who will serve up the cold hard truth unadorned with bullshit is a great commodity. A snarling pack of blue pill patsies falling over each other trying to tear down their betters, not so much. Roosh gave great advice once, he said (and I’m paraphrasing) “if you want something, look for a man who has what you want and ask him for advice on how you can get that too.” That is the criticism you need to listen to.

  17. If you are a person of experience, who can back up what you say, and are in a position where people are looking for feedback, and you are both actually interested in their betterment, and have your egos more or less in check on the matter… sure, if it seems right, offer some constructive criticism. You can even be kind of blunt about it, in the right situation.
    Otherwise, no. The only thing worse than putting up with people’s shortcomings, is putting up with their shortcomings while they offer you unsolicited advice.

  18. There’s also some cultural factors involved. Japanese teachers in traditional martial arts tend to let their students do a technique the “wrong” way for awhile before actually showing or revealing the correct method. The reason is that they want the student to figure things out by themselves and that there is a proper time for the student to learn the real way of doing a technique.

  19. Harsh, biting criticism is perfectly fine and well, but if you ARE going to criticise somebody, offer some sort of remedy as to how they can fix/improve themselves so far as the point at hand. Otherwise, you’re not actually helping; you’re being an asshole.

    1. That depends on the source and who’s doing the criticizing. If a bus driver says “that movie was shit”, it can’t even be called “criticism” because it’s coming from a bus driver. But if Steven Spielberg says “that movie was shit”, big difference. Neither of them are assholes. It’s just that one of them can give a list of reasons WHY it’s shit, and the other one can’t. Spielberg’s criticism actually has credibility.
      Even if the bus driver offered a suggestion to make it better, he would be contributing nothing constructive, because he knows nothing about film making. And that’s why he should STFU. Because he’s not even in a position to criticize in the first place.

  20. Interesting article. Some observations:
    * this advice in itself will be taken negatively, such are the times we live in
    * make sure you are someone who has the validity to provide feedback
    * make sure the other person has the capacity to take on feedback and that will be appreciated/considered
    * if you can, only provide to those who its in your best interest to. I only provide feedback to friends and anyone under me hierarchially. Never give advice to dipshits you dont like or those who try to cut you down. Those playing social climbing/dominance games view it as another social dominance game and think they know better, concerened about losing social face. Better to let those types flail about and fuck up.
    * men are able to separate the personal and criticism, that is why they are the great game changers in the world.
    * women in 90% of cases cannot separate the personal from the feedback. Be careful giving them feedback particularly in the workplace. Recently during my MBA I had a group project with 3 women and given my significant advantage in experience in the real world tried to tactfully offer feedback to improve their parts of the project. Many hurt looks and feelings, hand wringing and hand holding (plus facebook de-friendings) we got the project completed.
    * young people are often still at the stage where they think they know everything. I tried several times to do so during my MBA and learned very quickly not to.
    * make sure they have some personal stake in you. Don’t give feedback willy nilly otherwise they just view you as a source of help and nothing more. Make them earn it.

  21. There is something else to be said about unsolicited advice or unsolicited criticism for that matter. Personally I try to refrain from doing that, it’s a bit intrusive even if well meaning. But if a person openly tells me they have a problem or something is bothering me then they invite me to comment on their situation. A number of people just want to talk about their problems, rarely do they really want to solve it, maybe I’m just talking about women again.

  22. I’m guilty of criticizing often. But sometimes I wonder if it’s really a reflection of how I feel about myself. “Worry about things that you control” or “Don’t worry about unnecessary things”

  23. Positive reinforcement has a place. No one on the face of this Earth reacts to constant carping and criticisms, they will tune you out. Year and year out, I am considered to be one of the top coaches in the little league football that I coach. My players listen to me, and always try hard. I always stress that mistakes happen and we will improve upon those, but I expect them to make a mistake to 100% of their ability and I will get on to them for any less than that.

  24. As someone else here basically said, the value of criticism depends on who’s doing it and why. If I’m taking guitar lessons, then of course I want criticism of my technique. How else would I get better? But if I’m around my in-laws, that’s a different story. My mother-in-law criticizes because she’s a toxic fucktard who loves to hear herself talk. She the poster child for the saying, “the worst vice is ad-vice.”

  25. While this article is true most of the time, sometimes you just don’t want to hear about it. I only trust friends and family to criticize me. When someone I don’t respect, know or care about criticizes me, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t want to hear about it, and I want them to shut the fuck up. I don’t care for their opinion.

  26. I’ve worked this out last year! If u give advise to anyone, its count as harassment today!
    Western society has gotten so soft all thanks to corrupted Feminism! What’s next… contact sport will count as abuse!

  27. Best way to do this is by criticizing yourself first. And it’s not sarcasm. When you fuck up and call yourself a dumbass, it does after a while help you feel better.

Comments are closed.