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Supreme Court Justices Dealing with Their Disagreements

On this blog, we have been discussing the question, “Is it possible that there are immature and mature ways to handle our disagreements?” To help answer this question, I have, very tentatively, proposed five levels of maturity for providing criticism (see here) and five levels of maturity for responding to criticism (see here and here). In defending these levels of maturity, I have pointed out…

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Killing People Because They Criticized Your Muslim Faith: Is It A Sign of Immaturity?

Anyone who follows the news, has heard about the most recent terrorist act in France. This post, however looks at what occurred earlier this year against those who worked for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  The magazine had published articles and cartoons that criticize those who believe that the proper response to people making fun of a group’s religious beliefs is to kill them. …

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Providing Negative Criticism: The Newest Guidelines

Readers of this blog well know that I often discuss immature and mature ways to provide negative criticism. Originally, I presented a post titled PROVIDING NEGATIVE CRITICISM: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY.  There, in addition to providing an outline of what I believed was a good starting point to think about this topic, I asked readers for suggestions on how the outline could be improved. Many…

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Women and Criticism

On this blog, I often discuss immature and mature ways to deal with criticism. The advice that I offer is designed to be helpful to males and females alike.  But recently, in an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Tara Mohr argues that when it comes to criticism, women can benefit from advice specifically targeted to the unique cultural situation that they find themselves in.   The…

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Empathy, Kindness, and Maturity

“Rickey, you’re looking like you’re feeling blue,” I said softly to this 13-year boy I had been counseling for a few months.  As I looked at him, I observed some sadness rising up within me. “Ever since I remember, I always slept with my dog, Prince,” Rickey mournfully replied.  “This morning, when I woke up, he was…he was…he was dead.  He died!”  A tear began…

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IS IT WISE TO BE ASSERTIVE?

When I first started to teach a graduate course at the University of Minnesota on conflict resolution, from time to time a student would ask me to compare what I was teaching to assertiveness training. “From what I know about assertiveness training,” I explained, “it teaches a very narrow skill that can be helpful at times, particularly for very shy people.  But it doesn’t adequately…

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READING ABOUT EMOTIONAL MATURITY IS OFTEN NOT ENOUGH

When you first learned to ride a bicycle, it probably helped that someone told you some basic ideas.  Perhaps your big brother explained to you that when you want to go forward on a bike, you must push down with your foot on the pedal that is highest.  When you do that you will see the other pedal start to rise up.  When the other…

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TO CHANGE, OR NOT TO CHANGE?

My goal in writing this weekly blog is to encourage readers to make some changes that can lead to improvements in the quality of their relationships.  But some people have no patience for this line of thought. Below is a slightly edited version of a discussion that illustrates this view.  Names have been changed for privacy considerations. The Discussion Ed: I do not understand why…

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PUTTING DOWN NON-GROUP MEMBERS

On this blog, I have often discussed various reasons why someone might throw insults at you, and, depending on the reason, how to maturely deal with these challenging experiences (see for example, “Insults: A Comic Strip Guide“).  If John is throwing an insult at you because he is in a bad mood, just asking in a concern manner, “Is everything OK, John, you sound like…

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PROVIDING POSITIVE CRITICISM: THREE LEVELS OF MATURITY

Earlier on this blog, I provided a post that describes what I view as the five levels of maturity for providing negative criticism.  Now let’s turn our attention toward providing positive criticism. With positive criticism—that is, criticism that points out what we like about someone’s actions, possessions, or appearance—our task of distinguishing mature responses from immature ones is considerably easier than when it comes to…

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