Recently someone did a sly shaming in my presence.
I’m sharing it here for two reasons.

  1. Shaming someone may be unconscious, and yet it’s still not good.
  2. We must help others realize how it feels without shaming them in return.

When the shaming happened it surprised me although it wasn’t directed at me. The shamer made their statement which felt like a judgment about something my associate had done. Before I recovered my wits, my associate jumped in to defend herself.
Shaming is defined thus:  If you’re trying to make someone else feel bad by scolding them, you’re shaming them. (
This is a topic ripe for discussion right now, and no doubt not popular. However, my intent is to help each of us become more aware of our words and how we may be, without realizing it, shaming someone.
What you can do instead of a scolding.
You know it’s a scold or shaming when it starts with . . .
How could you..
You should…
Even a statement like, “Adopt, don’t shop” which refers to adopting a pet rather than buying one can be shaming if it’s directed at someone who bought a pet. When you think about it — what value does that statement actually provide?
So shift your thinking to ask, How do I want the person I’m talking with to feel?”  
If you want them to feel badly, then ask them a shaming, unanswerable question like one of these.
How could you make that decision? Vote for that person? Buy that brand?
If your intention instead is to make them an ally, a friend or enhance the relationship with them, ask them questions to uncover their reasoning, and just maybe, you might learn something too.
Give these a go…
What criteria do you use to make a decision?
What prompted you to go in that direction?
I would love to learn what you do to make a decision.
Remember that the wording is less important than the intent. Are you intending to scold or shame, or are you interested in keeping them in your life?
I want you in my life!
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Shawna Schuh, CSP
Helping leaders evolve.  
Executive Coach, Speaker, Columnist & Author
President, Women in the Pet Industry Network

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