Nobody is perfect (not even you and me, though I know some people think we are).

You have a choice every time you encounter someone’s imperfections. You can

  • excuse them for their faults, give them the benefit of the doubt, focus on the positive traits that outweigh the imperfections. You trust that the world will sort out those with the best skills from those without, the hard workers from the freeloaders, and you refuse to set yourself up for the disappointment that someone you believe in may not be all you made them out to be.
  • vilify them for their faults, use their imperfections as fuel for the fire you’re stoking to burn the person of their credibility and effectiveness. It’s nice to feel “right” and call out to the world that you can tell when something is sub-par and impress others with your decisive action when something doesn’t meet the high bar you set for yourself and others.

Those watching can tell (smell?) the difference between these two approaches, and they will take note of which strategy you deploy for various people.

Warning: the harder you stare at the imperfections of someone close to you, the more likely you are to take the vilification approach with them.