This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How to deal with someone who corrects you, when you are already correct

If you've ever been corrected by someone, even though you are already correct, you know how frustrating it can be. An example might be if I wrote about the photo at the top of this post "This is a cat" and someone corrected me by saying, "No, that's a dog".

Of course your first reaction might be "Are they kidding?" and they might be. But many times they just don't know. And if you haven't had much experience with dealing with people who don't know much, then being corrected when you're already correct can come as a shock.

There are, of course, three ways to deal with it 1) Ignore it 2) Get angry, start a "flame war", be outraged, and tell the other person that they're an idiot because they don't know the difference between a cat and a dog, or you could 3) Be a teacher.

As someone who has been paid a nice salary to patiently explain things to people who don't understand yet, I most often go with option number one. I certainly don't have any interest in option number 2 (I have high blood pressure) and sometimes I will go with option number 3, which is what I'm doing right now.

When I first started teaching Graphic Design, back in the 90s, I was shocked by the many ignorant things that people said. I shouldn't have been, because if they already knew, for example the difference between raster and vector, they wouldn't have needed me to explain it. And then it got worse for me - I ran into people who already knew stuff, although what they knew was wrong. So they had to not only learn the new stuff, they had to unlearn the bad stuff. I called this "emptying the cup before it can be filled".

Sounds kinda mystical, doesn't it? And just to teach something like Photoshop, or HTML. But I had to learn how to deal with it. Once I understood what to do, I started to welcome it. The trick would be to never, ever let anyone know that you're correcting them. I often had lesson plans based on "common misconceptions".

There are a lot of common misconceptions out there. And yes, it can make you angry that people don't know what's what. If you would like them to know, you can do that. Be a teacher.

And if you're a real good teacher, you'll get an apple on your desk! I preferred an iMac.