Filtering occurs when you only hear the negative someone tells you, when their statement is a mixture of negative and positive. Here’s an example:
- Your boss says: “I really enjoyed your presentation. You gave us a lot to think about. Some of it was pretty complicated. You also might want to shorten it, but I can tell you worked very hard on it, and I appreciate your dedication.
You hear: “The presentation was too complicated and went on too long.”
Another form of filtering is called disqualification. This occurs when you automatically discount something positive someone says to you as either an impossible statement, one made from naiveté, or one made for ulterior purposes. Here’s an example:
- Your supervisor says: “Excellent work today on that project.”
You think to yourself, “She’s just saying that so she can butter me up to work overtime.”