Author Topic: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?  (Read 6635 times)

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LeveeWoman

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2013, 01:31:22 PM »
Must every parent know the ins-and-outs of every competition in order to encourage his child? Is it not enough that parents are cheering?

So his affirmations/praise seem hollow, empty, and patronizing to me. I don't appreciate blind, ignorant statements of faith in my abilities, and I told him as much, and said that I wish he'd give more credit to the other people competing because this is a talented, special pool of of my colleagues.

Throwing it back in my face would hurt.

Deetee

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2013, 01:32:57 PM »
Actually, I do understand why you would feel annoyed at "You will advance and likely win" versus the something encouraging like "You will do great".

I have some experience with this as I was in competition for a fantastic opportunity and everytime someone told me I "would get it" or they "were sure I would get it", I wanted to slap them. Because, I understood the stakes and my own abilities and I knew it was not a sure thing. Everytime they said "You will get it", I heard "You would have to mess up to fail this one".

Now, most people who knew anything about it would say "That would be great if you got it" or "I hope you get it" or "I am sure you will do well" or "you are qualified for that". Those are good ways to provide warm encouragement or support without tying it to something that is out of your control.

And....I didn't get it.


edit to add: I never slapped anyone and I didn't hold it against the people. It just felt dismissive and ignorant of the magnitude of the challenge.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 03:20:42 PM by Deetee »

TootsNYC

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2013, 02:36:00 PM »
I understand your frustration.

Part of it is that your more nuanced observation is being rejected.

And there's the whole, "if you're so invested in my success, then what will happen if I don't succeed the way you have announced I'm going to? Will I still be lovable? Will I have to justify it to you? Will you decide that this was "a failure," without giving THAT any nuanced thought, parallel to how you are treating my announced "great success"?"

And your dad seems to do this, with his complete refusal to address the subject at all if you haven't succeeded to his expectations.

And it's as if he doesn't really see the REAL you. He's interacting with you as though you are a cliché.

gen xer

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2013, 02:48:06 PM »
I'm a little torn on this one.....on one hand I think the gracious thing to do is take someone's comments in the best possible light - it may not always be exactly what you want to hear but if it intended to be positive then accept it for what it is.

On the other hand I can see how it can sound like a rote phrase, you know - where no matter what you say you will be running into the same brick wall.  I don't think it's rude.....but I can understand the frustration with wanting someone to really understand and not getting it.  It can come off as something that parents are just expected to say about their kids no matter what - like how my mom would tell me I was the prettiest girl in my class - even prettier than the 5'10" blonde who won a prestigious modelling contract in Europe.  Yep....way prettier than her.  Sure Mom. 

So....no it's not rude and I think it should be considered as coming in a kindly light and responded to as such....but yeah - OP - I do see where you're coming from.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2013, 02:55:02 PM »
It sounds as though his remarks strike you as dismissive; it's easier to say, "Oh, you'll get it" and move on to something else than to go into the preparation and concern that are involved in events like this.

DH and I are learning to walk a respectful line with our two sons.  They're 23 and 20 now, dealing with applications to research positions and graduate schools, and a quick, decisive "you'll be accepted" wouldn't feel at all supportive to them (especially when some of these are opportunities with a 4% admit rate, yikes!).  Both DS1 and DS2 were already sensitive to the difference when they were applying to their undergrads, so we've been working on striking a healthy tone for a few years now.  It's an exciting part of their lives, we're grateful they're sharing it with us, and we want to be responsive to how it's working on them.

Now, my mother is 82 and an immigrant who is unfamiliar with the outrageous slings and arrows of life in academia.  When she says something to either one of them like that ("Oh, of course you'll get in!"), they see she's telling them she hopes they get what matters to them and are cheered by her enthusiasm for their qualities and decisions.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2013, 03:31:27 PM »
He's your father. He is saying something positive.
I don't understand where three offense is coming from.
If you don't want him to say things like this, don't tell him about these things.

Friend I had in college, she got upset when her mother said she was pretty. Because there are lots more people who look better than her. Her mom was trying to say something nice.

Deetee

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2013, 03:37:00 PM »
  It can come off as something that parents are just expected to say about their kids no matter what - like how my mom would tell me I was the prettiest girl in my class - even prettier than the 5'10" blonde who won a prestigious modelling contract in Europe.  Yep....way prettier than her.  Sure Mom. 


Oh, but that is something moms say. Because I have a daughter and trust me, she is prettier than any other child out there ever.

I wouldn't tell her she would win a modelling contract or a beauty contest, but that's different. I know she is prettier than anyone because she is the one whose smiling face makes my heart just melt and those other kids can't do that.

LadyL

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2013, 03:57:53 PM »
I am in a similar situation - I'm in an academic field that relies on grants. I have submitted several grants that have not been funded - the funding rate is very low (maybe 5-10% of all submitted) and so the outcome wasn't unexpected. I either didn't mention the grant to my parents, or I explained "I applied for this but it's a very, very long shot, almost like playing the lottery." It sounds like simply not mentioning the contest to your dad is the way to go - if it's a public speaking contest, just say something like "I'm preparing a talk I'll be giving soon" and don't mention the competition aspect.

ETA: For true long shot, hyper competitive processes, it can really sting when people say "Oh, I'm sure you'll get in/win" because it makes you think if you don't, they will be surprised and let down. It sets them up for a false expectation and kind of devalues the whole process.

No one says "oh, I'm sure you'll win" when you buy a lottery card, or even a 50/50 raffle ticket where only a few hundred people are in the pool.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 03:59:25 PM by LadyL »

Adelaide

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2013, 04:22:33 PM »
He's your father. He is saying something positive.
I don't understand where three offense is coming from.
If you don't want him to say things like this, don't tell him about these things.

Friend I had in college, she got upset when her mother said she was pretty. Because there are lots more people who look better than her. Her mom was trying to say something nice.

That's different. Being pretty isn't a competition (unless you're in a competition or are a model) and her mother didn't say she was the "prettiest girl in the world" or something. Even if she had, beauty is subjective to some extent. Whereas I'm going to get an e-mail tonight with a list of ten people who made the cut and ninety one who didn't.

Moray

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2013, 04:27:13 PM »
I'm a little confused. You're upset that your dad says things that are too optimistic when you inform him of an upcoming competition because it puts pressure on you or slights the other competitors in some way, but you're also upset that he's not commenting enough when you don't win the long-shot competition? Sounds like the least stressful thing would be to assume good intentions even if his comments were clumsily made, and perhaps not mention such things to him in the future.
Utah

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2013, 04:28:27 PM »
Most parents don't want their kids to worry because said kids are obviously practically perfect in every way; I think it's genetic. ;) Generally speaking, I don't see anything wrong with blind encouragement. I wish people luck all the time on things that don't really have anything to do with luck, but I hope my friends realize the intent of my good wishes.

Adelaide, it sounds like you are very nervous about the results of this competition. Consider objectively—are you perhaps taking out your nerves a bit on your dad? (btw, I do wish you luck!)
“Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.” PBS

Cami

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2013, 04:30:09 PM »
OP -- it sounds like this conversation is part of a larger dynamic with your father.

However, as a general rule, I think that to assume that everyone who says, "You're going to win" is so ignorant or stupid as to believe that there is no other option is condescending, at best. 

That attitude also ignores another reality -- that they're saying, "You're going to win!" as a way of expressing a hope for future prospects or a general positive outlook. I'm at a loss to understand why that would be A. Bad. Thing.






Adelaide

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2013, 04:34:37 PM »
I'm a little confused. You're upset that your dad says things that are too optimistic when you inform him of an upcoming competition because it puts pressure on you or slights the other competitors in some way, but you're also upset that he's not commenting enough when you don't win the long-shot competition? Sounds like the least stressful thing would be to assume good intentions even if his comments were clumsily made, and perhaps not mention such things to him in the future.

It's not that they're too optimistic. They're "Yes, you WILL win" statements. That passes from optimism into something else entirely. Then when I don't win, he has absolutely nothing to say about it and brushes me off when I try to say that I'm disappointed/didn't try hard enough/should have won.  It just strikes me as strange that he constantly cuts me off with "You're going to win!" when I say that I'm nervous, then has NOTHING to say after I lose. I just don't get it.

Also, I tend not to mention such things to him. My mother usually tells him and, as was the case last night, he overheard our conversation.

OP -- it sounds like this conversation is part of a larger dynamic with your father.

However, as a general rule, I think that to assume that everyone who says, "You're going to win" is so ignorant or stupid as to believe that there is no other option is condescending, at best. 

That attitude also ignores another reality -- that they're saying, "You're going to win!" as a way of expressing a hope for future prospects or a general positive outlook.

I've actually addressed this possibility and have said "I appreciate that you're being optimistic, but"-and he simply cuts me off with "No, you ARE going to win" and refuses to talk about anything else. Even if I say "There are a lot of competitors, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up" he STILL makes absolute statements like that instead of "I hope you do well" or even "You'll do well."

gramma dishes

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2013, 04:38:43 PM »
I would hate it if my father (or anyone else I really cared about) seemed so over confident that I would "win".  I would be wondering, "But what if I don't?  There's a much greater chance that I won't than that I will.  90% of the people participating in this are going to go home disappointed.  If I don't live up to his expectations, will he still love me?  Will he be disappointed in me?  Will he think I'm stupider than he thought?  Or just didn't really try my best?  Oh, so now I'm both stupid AND lazy!"

I'm sure your father probably means to be encouraging, but I think he's inadvertently adding enormous pressure on you at this already pressure filled moment.

audrey1962

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Re: Blind Encouragement/Affirmation: rude or not?
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2013, 04:40:08 PM »
I don't feel pressure to succeed so much as I feel irritation.

My Dad's been irritating me for close to 40 years. I can't change him. I realized that if I want him in my life, I have to accept his faults.