When Does Criticism Go Too Far?

Admit it – we’ve all felt the sting of criticism that was supposed to be “constructive” and just wasn’t.

What breaks my heart is that in today’s society, I feel like we’re way more apt to “jump” on something (be it a discussion, piece of art, music, a choice, etc.) and send it through particular filters than we were before.

In my opinion, we’re asking questions like; Is this offensive? Is this racist? Can the majority of society “handle” this? These questions can have both positive and negative effects. Should we be more aware of how we’re making someone else feel? Yes. Do we need to take that so far that we’re actually being more hurtful than helpful? No. We’re struggling with finding the line in that.

So when does criticism go too far? I asked myself this question, and I came up with my own answers. Do the same, and see how yours compare.

To me, criticism goes too far when…

  1. It isn’t constructive. Or rather, it needs to have a purpose. Working on a project together that has specific requirements? That needs a cohesive effort and has a purpose. Constructive criticism (I would think) is certainly welcome at that point.
  2. It’s obviously upsetting the other party involved. If you can visibly see that someone is upset or hear that they’re upset while you’re offering “criticism”, that’s the point where you pause and ask yourself (or the other person involved) “what went wrong here?” Then, start over.
  3. If you yourself are admitting that you’re “nit-picking, but”: Stop, just stop. If you can admit that yourself, then surely whatever criticism you were going to offer is past the point of constructive and thus offers no benefit.

Fair enough? When do you think criticism goes too far?

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