I have a friend, who is one of the nicest people I know. She would go out of her way to help just about anybody. She also believes that she is one of the best bakers in the world. But her goods are b-a-d. I have yet to eat something that she’s baked that I really liked. Some things are okay, but by far the majority of what she makes is not good. It’s either too dry, too bland, inconsistent, not flavorful, etc. At least once every couple of months she drops one of her culinary creations by the house for us to have. After a year or so, I’ve quit even tasting it, unless we are at her house for dinner. She regularly delivers things like this to our circle of friends and other friends of hers. And I know that some of our other friends share my feelings for her baked goods.
She has commented that some people have commented to her that they didn’t like her baked goods, i.e. people at her work, church etc. But she disregards them as not having a refined palate. She has commented several times about writing a dessert cook book or entering one of those pastry cooking shows. I don’t think I would ever say anything to her directly, as she would disregard it.
Do you have someone like this in your social sphere?
he list could go on forever. Some of the worst writers I know are friends who think they can write. Artists who think they can paint, I look at it more with amusement, I figure if they are enjoying themselves what the hell. But I don’t like having to eat their lousy cooking.
You have to be honest with these kinds of people. Kind, but honest.
I have a friend who is a lot like billfish78’s friend - he does three months of martial arts and he’s a blackbelt master of the 28th degree. He does a weekend course on first aid and he thinks maybe he could get a job as a paramedic. He thinks he’s a good writer and an actor too. Meanwhile, he doesn’t understand why he’s been stuck in the mail room for 10 years when other people keep get promoted out of it. (And, yes, literally in the mail room.)
I’ve had friends like this. Frankly, when it’s at that level, the result will typically either be that they disregard your opinion or they might even take offense at it. Fortunately, in your case, and in mine, it’s something fairly innocuous. Either way, my suggestion would be to realize that it’s not your place to “fix” this person’s opinion, only to have a genuine connection between the two of you. After all, maybe several people don’t enjoy her goods, but some of her friends legitimately do. I think you can give some honest critique of your friends baked goods without being harsh, particularly if you frame it in terms of your taste rather than her baking. Or if, after all this time, she’s actually made something you have enjoyed, you can compliment that or encourage her to focus more there.
Your not doing her any favors, though, by accepting her baked goods and just throwing them out as, presumably, she believes you enjoy them and she’s trying to do something nice for you. Sure, “it’s the thought that counts”, but if she can give you something you would ACTUALLY like rather than something she THINKS you like, you will genuinely feel it and she’s really a blessing to you. Plus, even if it’s a negative critique, I think most reasonable people appreciate it because they know it’s honest and from a place meant to help them, and it also means that when you do say good things, it’s genuine and not just meant to make them feel good. Moreso, it establishes a rapport of honesty.
And this is how I approached some friends or just acquaintance of mine. I was honest, though I tried not to be too brutally honest. Sometimes even the softest critique was met with anger, and I’ve started filtering those people from my life, other times, even fairly harsh critique is met with thanks, and I’ve learned to latch more onto these people.
In Computer Science departments there are a few people around who are considered A-Number-One-Top-Of-The-Line-Programmers by the faculty and, well, everyone else it seems. And these guys believe the hype and act quite smug about it.
But I’ve sometimes went into one of these guy’s programs to mod something to my liking and … the horror. Absolutely messy, overly complicated, badly written code. Stuff that would get a D in a sophomore programming class.
I once played on a fairly competitive coed volleyball team. I had a new friend who bragged about a team he “captained” at college.
We were short one season and asked my friend to play assuming his skill level at least understood bumps, passes, digs, volleys, serves etc.
As a team we had some elaborate plays and position shifts but the first week we stayed in a box formation to give the new guy a chance to “warm up”.
He sucked horribly. He was 50/50 on making any kind of clean bump and usually sent us scrambling to recover after he touched the ball.
We worked with him for three weeks but any shifts we tried just messed him up more.
It became my job to give him the news that he was kicked out. I started by asking him if he was enjoying himself and he told me he wasn’t sure he wanted to stay with our team because he was used to playing with better teams. My job got real easy after that.
Omar Little has already said that the baker friend has been told by others that they didn’t like her baking, and she dismissed them as having unrefined palate. Nothing that he could say would be appreciated by her. Someone who believes that they are a good or great baker could maybe take critique, someone who believes with no justification that they are one of the greatest bakers in the world is not likely to take any critique to heart.
I am curious about the baker friend though. There are some things I can kinda understand being delusional about. It can be hard to pinpoint what makes good writing or music sometimes, so I could understand a beginner thinking they much better than they actually are. Or for something more niche, you might be the best at X out of all the people you know, but that’s because you know few people who do X, and you’re still actually pretty bad at it. But baking isn’t hard, and it’s not difficult to find good and even great examples of baked goods in a lot of places. Unless she grew up on a commune of raw foodists, I don’t know how someone could grow up eating baked goods, and be a terrible baker, and think their baking is great.
Mine are both items that I hate to complain about and probably would never speak up about because it would make me feel ungrateful.
I have had at least three friends brag they give the best back rubs, none of them gave anything close to a satisfying massage.
I have had 3 or 4 girlfriends claim to be porn-star caliber, contest-winning oral sex givers. none could hold a candle (heh) to my current gf who thinks she is horrible at it because she admits to not knowing what she is doing and just makes up techniques on the fly.
I’ve been wondering about a friend I have who is going to one of those “art institute” diploma mills. She is a terrible artist. Seriously, my 9 year old is better, and he’s not one of the artistically talented 9 year olds.
I think this friend is willfully ignorant, because she had an art teacher in community college tell her she wasn’t getting any better after two years of art classes. That’s why she was happy to transfer to the Art Institute with zero research (seriously, one Google search is all it takes to determine this place is a scam). And now, she has a chance to quit this school and have all of her student loans waived because they’re being shut down by the government. But she wants to stay, and get stuck with the loans, because it makes her feel good to have highly paid crooks tell her she’s good at art. And I guess she’ll be paying out the ass for the rest of her life for a worthless piece of paper that says she’s an artist.
Luckily she’s not a very close friend or I’d feel a lot worse about it. As it is I can just stare from afar, like it’s some gruesome car wreck.
The TL;DR takeaway is: “If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.… [T]he skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”
I have a friend who, once upon a time, thought he was going to be the next Hari Seldon and invent Psychohistory. Using math skills equivalent to basic Algebra.
He’d bounce ideas off me, which I’d shoot down (usually by pointing out real-world counterexamples to his theories; sometimes by just pointing out mathematical errors, like careless polynomial handling). And eventually, he told me he’d gotten his core theory correct and no longer needed any kind of peer review by the uninitiated. shrug
I can’t believe no one has mentioned delusional singers yet. I thought every family had one. Our is nearing 50 and remains stubbornly convinced that recognition and fame are just around the corner. His mama supports this and somehow manages for him to serenade us at every gathering. To me it’s just tuneless caterwauling while strumming a guitar.
My husband worked with the biggest bull shitter. This guy was an expert on everything and had supposably been a highly trained army guy in some elite unit. One day he asked my husband a question at work that was an industry 101 question. Mr Elite was a highly placed manager and even I, not in the same field at all, knew the answer to the question. Well hubby got suspicious and to make a long story short, guy had lied and faked his degree. We figured his military background was probably all a lie too. But for a long time he had been very convincing.
I have a friend that I refer to as “Dunning-Kruger” in private because of this. Pretty low intelligence resulting in incompetency and blissfully ignorant confidence.
Speaking of Dunning-Kruger in relation to cooking, this same friend once argued with me that milk (normal cow juice) could be used as a substitute in a recipe he was making that called for coconut milk, because “they’re both called ‘milk,’ duh!”
I passed on his offer of a pina colada and thanked gosh that he didn’t have access to milk of magnesia.