You’ve messed up. You feel embarrassed, you know what you did was a mistake, and you own up to it. You say you’re sorry. And even though you acknowledge it, the other person still wants to chew you out. They want to make sure you know how badly you’ve screwed up. It feels terrible, and you shut down.
Our question this episode: what’s the harm with shaming the shameful?
This episode was inspired by a post I read over the break with the clickbait headline, “How Should I Tell People a Shameful Secret About My Dog?” The question itself was interesting, but it was the response the columnist gave that really got my hackles up. I’m not going to be talking specifically about the issue the post brought up, but more about the dynamics that played out on the page that we can all learn from.
PS: I should have mentioned in this episode that the Slate columnist did include an updated response in a subsequent column that acknowledged that their answer lacked compassion for the person who wrote in about their dog. That was a classy thing to do!
Mentioned in this Episode
How can I tell people a shameful secret about my dog? | Slate
11 Reasons Never to Shame People | PsychologyToday.com