I am indebted to Timothy "Tim" Hanni who contributed material for this
I have a friend who's something of a
expert - at least she considers herself to be. She's prone to saying
things like "This is a great Cabernet.". She may be right.
She may not be. Who knows? But what she doesn't take into account, is
we each have our own unique tastebud configuration (if you
will). That means we each taste differently ie we each taste
physiologically differently. It's a scientifically proven
fact. She can say it has a great taste for her. That's totally
valid. Indeed that's what's
for her. But it may not be
for everyone else. When she says "This is a great Cabernet" without
factoring that in, she's talking taste, a subjective experience, in
absolute terms. So she comes across as over-bearing to people who
disagree with her
assessments, especially to those with less
experience than she has.
If you gave me a pink shirt as a gift (or any other pastel color for
that matter), here's what I would do with it: I would either politely
decline it, or I would accept it and then earmark it to donate it to
Goodwill later. Look: I'm appreciative of gifts, but I'm
just not a pastel color guy. I'm
black and white
and bold. "But it's a great color,
You'll look good in pink" you protest. I say "That may be valid for you
ie it may be valid in your perception. But in mine, it isn't a great
color for me.".
We each perceive colors differently - or said more rigorously, we each
perceive colors physiologically differently. More than that, we're each
complemented by different colors, and in particular we're
each complemented by different color clothing. And there's not one
single universally great color for shirts that complements everyone,
any more than there's one single
that tastes great for everyone. It's all subjective. Ask any
color-coding clothing consultant: what looks good on one person may not
look good on another. Pink works for Jack Nicklaus. No kidding! Jack
looks great in pink shirts on the
But they're not for me.
"We're going out for dinner tonight,
"Great! Where are we going?". "There's a new Indian cuisine restaurant
in the city. Their curry is the best in the Bay Area.". "Oh, thanks but
no thanks. I'll pass.". "But why?". "I'm sorry, I'm just
not into hot and spicy.". "But you don't understand: it's the
best curry in the Bay Area.".
The trouble for those who consider themselves to be experts in matters
which are purely subjective (in fact for more than merely self-styled
experts: for anyone speaking subjectively about anything) starts when
they unknowingly omit adding three words to their assessments. The
three words are "... in ... my ...
Look: adding these three words usually as a suffix ("It's a great cab
"Pink is a great color in my
"It's great curry in my
doesn't make their assessments any more (or any less) accurate. That's
not the focus here. What it does do is make them more
So I cut to the chase: "Wait! You forgot the three magic words.". "The
three magic words?". "Yes, you forgot to say 'It's the best curry in
the Bay Area in my
Your 'It's the best curry ...' doesn't negate my 'I'm not into hot and
spicy' so don't push it. It's rude and inconsiderate. It makes you come
across as over-bearing.".
When you impose your
on my different experience as
you're not listen-able. Suffixing it with "... in my
(thus creating space for listening given it truly is an
grants me the space to consider your
or not, without having to be emphatic and / or defensive about my own.
That's the way you set up yourself and your subjectivity to be
listen-able, regardless of your point of view, regardless of your
regardless of whether you agree with me, or not.