Q: I’m rather upset. I had an argument with someone about the progress I had made in a large area I had accidentally taken over with work and storage overflow.
It’s clean now, but a few days ago it wasn’t — save for one area I had managed to completely clear (which took a few days in small segments, thanks cleaning anxiety!). This person is an all-or-nothing kind of guy, so I shouldn’t have been taken by surprise when they didn’t see the improvement but just what was left.
The small progress I had made was “disappointing,” “lazy,” etc. That particular conversation was revisited today when I got congratulated about the area now (almost completely clear in all directions) and I said I would have rather heard that earlier. His response: “You’re not a kid, and there’s no participation trophies for cleaning.” I feel at a loss and honestly, like a failure. Is age such a big factor in cleaning competence? Can I have your opinion on this?
A: My opinion? That was a tremendously shitty thing to say to someone. Without knowing what this person’s relationship to you is, I’ll refrain from what I’d really like to say, but the gist of it is that kind of reaction is crappy and unhelpful.
It’s not about age, and it’s not about getting a trophy. It’s about two types of people: those who won’t accept anything less than perfection, and those who can recognize progress. Calling someone else’s progress “disappointing” and “lazy” is completely counterproductive (not to mention straight-out rude), because now? I’m guessing you don’t feel much motivation to clean anything ever again.
Cleaning competence is not about age. It’s a whole mix of things: knowledge, ability, motivation, and a whole lot more. This has nothing to do with trophies or bootstraps or laziness; it has to do with something taking someone a couple of days instead of it being finished immediately, and the fact that it was so beneath that other person’s standards and sensibilities. And that has nothing to do with you. It has to do with their own internal set of rules about cleaning and being so rigid as to not allow any deviation from them.
If you have any choice in the matter at all, don’t look to this person for encouragement or approval. Their opinion is mean and shitty, and you don’t need it. You tried to express that you could have used encouragement earlier and were rebuffed, so honestly, look for it elsewhere.
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