The Airtight Rule
Some advice from Father Robert Barron:
This is some advice I got from a priest mentor of mine years back. He said: “Here’s the rule, the airtight rule: criticize somebody precisely in the measure that you are willing to help him or her deal with the problem you’re raising.”
The point is that if you are 100% willing to commit yourself to helping the person deal with the problem you’re raising, off you go. Critique ’til the cows come home.
If you’re totally unwilling to take even one little step to help the person deal with the problem, then keep your mouth shut. Don’t say anything.
Maybe a little bit of commitment? Maybe a little bit of critique.
That has never left my mind, that little piece of advice. When I feel the urge to criticize someone, “Alright Barron, are you willing to commit yourself to helping him deal with his problems? If not, keep your mouth shut.”