How to give criticism in English….and still stay polite!


Can you believe that this is the last message you’ll get from me in this quarter? That October begins in just a few days? I cannot believe it. Time is flying by and I’m just holding on for dear life. They say time flies when you’re having fun, so that explains why my life is passing at the speed of light!

I wanted to share a tip with you today on how to give feedback and still remain polite in English. You need a magic word. And it might not be the one you think. The magic word, in this case, is not ‘please’, but ‘always’.

Let me explain.
If you say to someone ‘You always forget my name‘, this means that there is no hope for this person. You’ve used the Present Simple (‘forget’), which means that you don’t expect this behavior to end or change. This is sad. This might make your counterpart depressed.
Let’s try another approach.

If you say ‘You’re always forgetting my name’, this creates a sense of optimism. Why? Because you’ve just used the Present Continuous (or Present Progressive – ‘are forgetting’.) We use this for temporary situations. This means that we hope this situation will change, end, or improve. YEAH! Your counterpart feels like there is a chance for hope and redemption. Everybody wins!

The magic formula is this:
Person + am/is/are + always + verb + ing.

Remember… need to use the ‘always’ with this. There is no other adverb of frequency that works as well.

So let’s try…

What would you like to change about yourself? Or about someone else?
Here are some things about myself I’d like to change:

I am always mixing up people’s names.
I am always forgetting where my glass of water is (and then I pour myself a new one which means the old glass somehow magically appears).
I am always getting lost when I drive (and YES, I have navigation. I’m just stubborn).

That’s enough for now.
I hope this helps you the next time you have to give criticism – to someone else, or yourself!

Stay fabulous!

PS: Thank you all for your kind comments about my new website and my new Friday Fun video! I’m so happy you like them!

PPS: I’m always forgetting to turn on my fitness tracker when I walk. But I’m working on that! 🙂

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