Yesterday I was just roaming around on facebook, as usual writing embarrassing comments on my friend's status messages. And in response to my friend Akshay's status, "Criticizing is an art if you know how to...". I wrote an essay length comment which ended up being of a slightly higher quality than my usual silliness. So instead of letting it get lost there I decided to make a blog post out of it. Here it goes, some ways to criticize people without making them feel like shit.
The idea behind this is to initially give the impression of agreement and appreciation, causing a metaphorical erection. Then as the guy indulges himself in all the praise and admiration, smack, make your move (also called the Jhingalala stage). You can either make multiple low intensity blows and gradually bring him down, or one massive blow from which he is unlikely to recover. Both have their own advantages. Personally I prefer multiple low intensity blows.
Example: OMG Akshay, I love your status messages. They are so unique and insightful. If I had lots of money to waste I would make a book out of them. I'm sure it'll sell a million copies. But to be honest I think this particular status message did not match up to your own high standards. I mean yea I agree with it, but then everything is an art isn't it? Nothing special about criticizing. Although kudos to you for recognizing that, not many people can. Besides I quite like how you finished it off with three full stops. I mean sure it's not correct and everything but who cares. Plus you can always say that there are actually two more sentences there, just not visible to the stupid.
2.) Be Funny:
This one's pretty simple, as it says, make a critique but try to be funny. Crack a silly joke that takes the subject's mind off the recently delivered criticism. I personally find that ridiculous analogies work best here because if they aren't funny, they still deliver the diversion by being ridiculous by design.
Example: Naaa! Saying criticizing is an art is kinda like saying finding the right spot when pooping outside in a cactus field is an art.
3.) Rhyme it:
This one, is my favorite but it is pretty difficult to get right. Not everyone can rhyme, but if you can this is the best way to be critical. Actually this is the best way to do anything in writing. I'd kill myself happily if someone ordered me to do it in the form of an eloquent poem.
If I was a little baby I would fart,
To tell you that criticizing is not an art,
It's just a way to break someone's heart,
Unnecessarily showing that you are so smart.
There's a very famous saying, "If you can't convince them, confuse them". So deliver a criticism and if you can't defend it, say something that will just screw with the subject's head. As usual analogies work here perfectly.
Example: Bullshit! You can't say criticizing is an art. It's not an absolute statement. We live in a multi-verse consisting of multiple parallel universes, multiple realities. Our existence is just one little part of the much bigger picture. How can you be sure that this statement is valid for all those multiple universes simultaneously? You can't! Long live Hama Kavula.
5.) Cuss out loud:
This my least favorite but sadly the most popular form of criticism. And technically you can't use this unless you want to be rude. But just for the sake of completion I have included it. Of course you can be a little artistic here as well, inventive new cusses etc.
Example: Yuck! What $#&^& crap you keep posting Akshay. Makes no sense at all. You're just a big pile of (*&$^%^.
There, I think I have covered all. More than these you can probably mix these techniques together and add a bit of sarcasm as well to make a lethal blow. The key thing is to really enjoy it, take pleasure out of criticizing. It need not be right to be convincing ;).