“When in doubt, just say thank you. There is no downside. Are you honestly worried about showing too much gratitude to the people in your life?”
I host a weekly session for anyone interested in sharing their ideas with a group of other curious people. Through word of mouth, the number of people regularly dialing into these sessions has quadrupled through CoVID. The topics of discussions are wide ranging, often of personal projects, stories of resilience, technology, data science & AI, contemporary research. I’ve learnt to apply some ideas from Rob Walker’s “The Art of Noticing” and John Hagel’s writing into building this community. The discussions are robust yet respectful, but also from a tiny handful of folks.
There are a couple of individuals attending who can’t seem to help themselves from critiquing every subject. Finding something that’s wrong, or unsolved, or in the news. They dial in late, miss the context & framing of the conversation (particularly when the speaker has explicitly clarified that they are unaware of the solutions to the particular problem that is raised), & then attempt to turn the conversation towards their own uninformed point of view. Oh, and not once have I witnessed a “thank-you for doing this presentation, or the effort that’s gone into it” from them.
Of the many ways I’ve learnt to handle this situation, the simplest has been to request the offenders to present on a topic of their choice. I do think they have lots of good stuff to share, they’re so far unempathetic to the efforts required from others because they’ve not done it themselves yet. No one has agreed, not so far anyway.