December 5, 2022

In high school, I learned not to correct how a teacher spells a word on the whiteboard, because it might make them feel embarrassed in front of the class.

In college, I learned not to correct how someone cuts a green pepper, because it might chafe at their lifelong fear of never doing anything right.

But it wasn’t until much later that I learned a secret third reason: To some, a correction isn’t just a correction. It can also be seen as a power move.

When I say, “You missed this,” some people hear, “I am more powerful than you because I don’t miss things.”

In reality, I miss a lot of things – including that hidden message.

People are less likely to add layers of meaning to my words if I share them privately and diplomatically. But even that is no guarantee of success.

It’s more likely they’ll receive it well if they explicitly asked for honest feedback. It’s even more likely if they express sincere gratitude whenever someone catches what they miss.

This post expands on ideas from an earlier post.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.