People generally don't like criticism. If they aredoing something wrong it may be to their benefit to hear criticism but they may reject thecriticism and become hostile to the person making the constructive suggestions. Peopleoften perceive criticism when there is none intended. For example I once told the peoplein charge of a buffet that there was no French toast left. I was just trying to informthem so my friends could have some. They however took offense. They perceived that I wascriticizing them for not having French toast out on the table. This is an example ofinforming people about a problem and people interpreting that as a criticism. People oftenperceive advice as a criticism. If you give advice people may see you as thinking that youare better than they are.
When faced with a threat we take defensive measures.As the threat increases usually are efforts at defense increase as well. One threat peopleface in social situations is that other people won't like and respect them. In thesesituations people are likely to resort to defensive behaviors that they believe willprevent disapproval by others. If these defensive behaviors are inappropriate a viciouscycle is created since the defensive behaviors will cause others to disapprove and thenone is likely to put even more effort into defending oneself. I have had inappropriatesocial defenses and have experienced this. Generally people are comfortable with someonewho is easygoing. If one is defending oneself, one is not easygoing. The typical defensereaction makes one the opposite of easygoing.
Many people have told me that they found a boyfriendor a girlfriend when they weren't trying. I think that has to do with inappropriate socialbehaviors that result from trying to hard. Now if I'm worried about how I am coming acrosssocially I just relax. I have found that I am doing a lot better socially as a result.
It is important when socializing to respect the otherperson. The way people regard you will partly depend on how you regard them. It isgratifying to one's ego to view oneself as better then other people but that is disastroussocially.
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