The poisoned compliment
"Well, I found your comments very interesting," notes a colleague after you've finished your report. "Her suggestions are not feasible, but they are truly original, and what I also missed was a certain order of thought.
It was all confused, I could hardly follow you. But you put it well. "Such odd statements are uncomfortable, you do not even know what to say to them, and that is often the purpose of the" poisoned "compliment, and they're supposed to compliment you so you can do not realize that you are actually being attacked.
Fear of open criticism
In everyday professional life such "poisoned compliments" occur quite often. The reason: Your interlocutor does not dare to openly criticize you - but what he actually wants. That's why he uses a more or less concealed barb in his praise. But why this camouflage? There are two different reasons for this:
- The other will not hurt you at any price. Just executives shy away from open words, because they think they would first have to praise hard when they want to criticize. A following error.
- The other wants to put you down. He may be afraid of you as a competitor, or you are simply uncomfortable with him. Of course, he can not admit both of these things, so he pretends to be very good with you.
If all the mendacious praise
In some Company has become a fatal Harmiesucht naturalized. One finds everything right and great, what is "done". Criticism is something negative that discourages others. So first of all "build" people with praise before you can start telling yourself what you really think about their performance: nothing.
This mendacity has serious consequences. It is less and less possible to actually praise and actually practice constructive criticism. Because everyone wonders what the boss really means when he says, "We've had a great year, everyone has done a first-class job, and I sincerely wanted to thank you for that." - Is everything really well or is there a colossal wave of redundancies?
You have to somehow find out what your counterpart really means. There are two ways to do this: the demand ("What do you mean?") Or the interpreting technique, which you will soon get to know. Incidentally, you should make the other person understand that you value an honest objection more than a false praise.
This is the real domain of the "poisoned compliment": actually, someone wants to say something mean about you, to belittle you, to blacken you. But if it happened openly, you could fight back or others take sides for you. Then your interlocutor would look bad.
So he sends a compliment - as a false track, so to speak, so that everyone thinks he is on your side. Besides, the compliment in the group is, so to speak, his ripcord. If the thing with the "poison" does not work so well and the deciding people are on your side, then he can back down on the compliment.
"Great for your circumstances"
Particularly perfidious are also compliments, which are provided with the addition: "for your circumstances" or "for you". A wonderful lecture - for your circumstances. Objectively the thing was terrible, but since you are completely incompetent, a terrible lecture "for your circumstances" is still wonderful.
There's a simple way of countering it: you call your name's demeaning. In doing so, you should calm things up a bit. You will learn more about the "interpreter technique" under the keyword "the poison tongue". Here only so much:
If you have revealed the allegation, you should ask another question to clear up any ambiguity: "Did you mean to say that? Did I understand you correctly?" You can be sure that your conversation partner has not wrapped up his poison in a sweet compliment for no reason. As a rule, he will give small. Or he is openly criticizing. But then everyone knows what they are about.
"I was not bored at all"
"A great lecture, I was not bored at all - at most the last few minutes." - "Great, so you think I'm such a boring one that it's a top performer for you if you just go away in the last ten minutes, did I get that right?" - "No, I really liked it, but it's true that all the lectures have a hangover at some point, at least I feel that way."
Of course, the "poisoned compliment" is occasionally used ironically or even maliciously. But how you deal with malice will occupy us in a later chapter.
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