• chatterbears
    416
    I'm really tired of this phrase, and it is completely useless and irrelevant to any discussion. It should be never be a response to someone looking for validation, especially.

    Does anyone think this phrase is useful and/or helpful to a discussion? For example. If I tell you how my family member verbally abused me, does a response of "Well, nobody is perfect.", help at all? IMO, people need to stop saying these types of phrases. 'Nobody's perfect' - 'We all make mistakes'
    1. Is saying "nobody's perfect" helpful? (14 votes)
        Yes
        57%
        No
        43%
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Here's the big one...

    It is what it is.
  • chatterbears
    416
    It is what it is.Wallows

    lol... I hate that one too. ffs -.-
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    290
    "Perfect" likely only exists In pure mathematics.
  • Possibility
    1.5k
    At the risk of playing the devil’s advocate...

    If everyone else is dutifully offering the ‘validation’ so eagerly sought, then sometimes a little perspective may be called for. The question is why it upsets us so much to hear this consideration of the offender as a human being, as deserving of compassion as we are.

    Would it make you feel better if the response was to denigrate this family member, label them as ‘evil’ and resolve hatred towards them?

    When you express an interpersonal interaction, you cannot always expect people to immediately relate to your position. In this case, they may relate initially to the family member instead, and may be responding defensively to your pain and anger for their own reasons that have nothing to do with you. Your taking offence at a lack of validation is based on an assumption that yours is the only position in the encounter worth consideration: either in the situation of abuse or in the telling of it to others. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    If I respond instead by telling you how my family member physically abused me, is it because I’m expressing compassion for your situation, or because I want to position myself as more deserving of validation than you are? Being conscious of our limited perspective can be a lesson in humility.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Pobody's nerfect.

    (Trite sound bites in response to genuine pleas for compassion or understanding are bad, m'kay, but also automatic villainizing of people is worse, so it's true that nobody's perfect and people deserve understanding for their faults and wrongdoing, but those who've been wronged deserve understanding for their pain even more, and dismissing them with a trite sound bad is the wrong way to balance those conflicting claims to humanity).
  • chatterbears
    416
    The question is why it upsets us so much to hear this consideration of the offender as a human being, as deserving of compassion as we are.Possibility

    I don't deny that the offender is a human being, but that's irrelevant when offering someone validation and/or compassion. If my daughter is raped, I am not going to tell her, "Have some consideration for your rapist. He is a human being as well." - Not only is it absurd, but it is completely dismissive of what my daughter is going through.

    Would it make you feel better if the response was to denigrate this family member, label them as ‘evil’ and resolve hatred towards them?Possibility

    Absolutely not. Validation isn't necessarily about agreeing with the person on their view, or affirming their view is accurate. It is about allowing someone to feel and express their emotions and thoughts. Once the person has become more logical and out of emotion, then you can discuss the validity of their thoughts. If my wife comes to me and tell me her mother upset her, I am going to validate her emotional expression. And sympathize with her, until we reach a point we can actually talk about what happened in an objective sense. It doesn't matter how accurate her initial story is of her mother.

    When you express an interpersonal interaction, you cannot always expect people to immediately relate to your position.Possibility

    Validation is irrelevant to relating. It's quite the opposite actually. If someone tells me a story about something they went through, I don't need to relate it to myself or anyone else. All I need to do is understand that they went through something, and I will initially validate their experience in what they went through.

    In this case, they may relate initially to the family member instead, and may be responding defensively to your pain and anger for their own reasons that have nothing to do with you. Your taking offence at a lack of validation is based on an assumption that yours is the only position in the encounter worth consideration: either in the situation of abuse or in the telling of it to others. Sorry to burst your bubble.Possibility

    You sound like you don't understand what validation means, or how to execute it. If you're girlfriend/boyfriend comes home from work, and tells you they had a hard day because of something their co-worker did to them. Are you going to respond to them initially by telling them, "Well, your co-worker deserves some consideration here. You don't have the only position worth considering, sorry to burst your bubble here." - You would be an awful support partner if you said that.

    If I respond instead by telling you how my family member physically abused me, is it because I’m expressing compassion for your situation, or because I want to position myself as more deserving of validation than you are? Being conscious of our limited perspective can be a lesson in humility.Possibility

    If you responded with that initially, without validating my story/feelings first, I would say that is completely selfish and lacking empathy and/or compassion. Someone is telling you a story to vent and/or reach out for some support, not to hear about your story as an initial response. If I tell you a story, one sign that you would be interested is for you to ask questions about what happened, why it happened, what could prevent it in the future, how to resolve it, etc... But on the contrary, if you don't say anything other than relating it to yourself, well then it's obvious how interested you were in my current frustration. This is not to say that one could never talk about themselves in response to someone's hardship, but it should never be the initial response.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    Context.

    Scenario A:

    "I realize that this is my 19th offense your honor, but what can I say? Nobody's perfect..."

    Scenario B:

    "It's true Obama failed to revolutionize American health care, but does this mean his presidency was a failure? Nobody's perfect."

    Scenario C:

    "Bobby Fischer was a shit chess player because he lost some games"...

    "Nobody's perfect"
    .
  • Possibility
    1.5k
    Yeah, well, I did ask for that didn’t I? It’s obviously still raw for you.

    Did you just want validation here, or a philosophical discussion? It wasn’t clear, sorry. This is a philosophical forum.

    I agree with you that it’s inappropriate and insensitive to dismiss someone’s expression of negative experiences with phrases such as ‘nobody’s perfect’. I agree with you that when someone is clearly looking for validation, then the appropriate response would be to give it as required. I would have thought that was obvious, and doesn’t require discussion. I doubt you’ll have any argument on these points.

    But your claim was also that the phrase was “useless and irrelevant to ANY discussion” - I disagree with this. There are situations where it could be useful, and where it might also be a response (albeit insensitive) by someone with no direct malice towards you, and no intention to dismiss your feelings. Sometimes their insensitivity with a phrase such as ‘nobody’s perfect’ is a clear warning that they have their own shit going on, and just as you would want them to be sensitive to your shit, you can also be sensitive to theirs, and their emotional capacity to deal with your shit at the time - which has priority only for you.

    My intention was not to offend you further, but to contribute to a discussion.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    If there is a god, then god is perfect. However, god's perfection has very little to do with anybody and since nobody is god (at least those I know), it follows that nobody's perfect.
  • chatterbears
    416
    Yeah, well, I did ask for that didn’t I? It’s obviously still raw for you.Possibility

    Nothing is raw, as nothing happened to me. But I see many responses in forums, or parents of my friends talking to them in a similar way.

    Did you just want validation here, or a philosophical discussion? It wasn’t clear, sorry. This is a philosophical forum.Possibility

    I don't need validation, as I came here for discussion. Why would you think otherwise? It's strange for you to assume I am the one who has been wronged, when I have been explaining things thoroughly.

    I agree with you that it’s inappropriate and insensitive to dismiss someone’s expression of negative experiences with phrases such as ‘nobody’s perfect’. I agree with you that when someone is clearly looking for validation, then the appropriate response would be to give it as required. I would have thought that was obvious, and doesn’t require discussion. I doubt you’ll have any argument on these points.Possibility

    If it was obvious, people would stop doing it. But they don't. I see it happen every week almost.

    But your claim was also that the phrase was “useless and irrelevant to ANY discussion” - I disagree with this. There are situations where it could be usefulPossibility

    Could you give me an example of a discussion that would benefit from someone saying, "Nobody's perfect?"
  • chatterbears
    416
    If there is a god, then god is perfect.TheMadFool

    This is a bit strange. Why would God be perfect if it existed?
  • chatterbears
    416
    Scenario A:VagabondSpectre

    I doubt the judge would think that phrase has some validity to it.

    Conclusion: The phrase was useless to say.

    Scenario BVagabondSpectre
    The first part of the scenario's statement is a good starting point and good question, but the end is unnecessary.

    Conclusion: The phrase was useless to say.

    Scenario C:VagabondSpectre
    The person saying Bobby was a shit chess player was demonstrably wrong. And you can prove that by showing the games he won. Saying 'Nobody's perfect' after the rebuttal, is completely useless and adds nothing to the point.

    Conclusion: The phrase was useless to say.
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    Is saying "nobody's perfect" helpful?chatterbears
    The context in which the statement is made is more important than the statement.

    Suppose Mary is yelling at Harry for having made some mistake, and Harry responds, "everybody makes mistakes" or "nobody's perfect". Which one is being more unreasonable? It depends on the circumstances.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    I doubt the judge would think that phrase has some validity to it.

    Conclusion: The phrase was useless to say.
    chatterbears

    Right. This was the example of when it doesn't work as a defense.

    The first part of the scenario's statement is a good starting point and good question, but the end is unnecessary.

    Conclusion: The phrase was useless to say.
    chatterbears

    What do you mean "unnecessary"? As long as "nobody's perfect" adds something to the statement, then it serves a purpose, and in this scenario it's a functional or rhetorical answer to the question it posed.

    The person saying Bobby was a shit chess player was demonstrably wrong. And you can prove that by showing the games he won. Saying 'Nobody's perfect' after the rebuttal, is completely useless and adds nothing to the point.chatterbears

    It points out that failing to achieve absolute perfection is not the same as achieving overall failure.
  • Frank Apisa
    2k
    Not completely sure why, but this thread reminds me of an old Catholic joke.

    Jesus intervenes with a crowd about to stone a woman found to have committed adultery. He looks around and says, "Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone."

    All was quiet for a moment...then suddenly a rock flies through the air and hits the woman smack on her head.

    Jesus frowns and admonishes, "Mother!!!"
  • Coben
    1.5k
    If I tell you how my family member verbally abused me, does a response of "Well, nobody is perfect.",chatterbears
    That's a terrible use of that phrase, and, of course, many people use this idea idiotically. But in the context where something more easily forgivable, an error in judgment, for example, is the issue, it could be a useful phrase. And it could be a gentle reminder to the person that they have done some crappy stuff also, in their time.

    So, yes, it can be use to diminish in an unjust way acts and patterns of behavior in a silly and damaging way.

    But it depends on the context.

    Sometimes judgmental people expect something rather close to perfection, and using that phrase and staring at that person with one raised eyebrow - as in, you shoplifted when you were a teenager, so don't make it sound like my son should be put down because he did similar stuff.
  • chatterbears
    416
    Suppose Mary is yelling at Harry for having made some mistake, and Harry responds, "everybody makes mistakes" or "nobody's perfect". Which one is being more unreasonable? It depends on the circumstances.Relativist

    Of course Mary could be yelling in an unreasonable fashion, but a response from Harry such as "nobody is perfect", literally adds nothing to the situation. Something actually productive to the situation could be a statement like, "Mary, why are you getting so upset over this specific issue? Is something else bothering you?"
  • chatterbears
    416
    What do you mean "unnecessary"? As long as "nobody's perfect" adds something to the statement, then it serves a purpose, and in this scenario it's a functional or rhetorical answer to the question it posed.VagabondSpectre

    I'm unclear as to what purpose it serves? I guess the main concern here is, this is assuming that the person on the opposing end of that statement, doesn't apparently know that perfect people don't exist. Do you think anybody on this planet believes that a perfect person exists?

    It points out that failing to achieve absolute perfection is not the same as achieving overall failure.VagabondSpectre

    Absolute perfection is impossible. So pointing it out which be a red herring. Unless you're referring to 'never losing a match' as absolute perfection? In chess, I would label 'absolute perfection' as never making the wrong move within the chess board. It's like saying, an NBA achieved absolute perfection by never losing a game during the regular season. But I wouldn't call it perfection, unless they didn't miss a single shot, didn't allow the opponent make a single point, etc...
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    One of my many names is "Nobody".MathematicalPhysicist

    So, you're perfect. :up:

    This is a bit strange. Why would God be perfect if it existed?chatterbears

    You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. — Matthew 5:48
  • Relativist
    1.5k
    Maybe, but my more fundamental point is that language is not just a means of communicating facts - it's also a means of conveying emotion. In this case, the focus should be on what is the most effective way to manage the associated feelings, irrespective of whether or not the words may be intellectually vacuous.
  • NOS4A2
    3.6k


    The phrase serves to concisely express a widely known and understood truth in order to save time and relate to the audience, not to make excuses for those who do evil.
  • Wittgenstein
    329
    It is an excuse for mediocrity. Most of us want to feel that everyone is like us. In reality, there are countless people in every field that are light years ahead of us and no matter how much we strive, we cannot reach their level. I don't even know if it is worth doing something unless you aim for perfection.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    It is an excuse for mediocrity.Wittgenstein
    It may, sometimes, be used in this way, but I hear it used in contexts that do not fit this criticism. I see it used in reaction to petty judgment that has nothing to do with mediocrity. Further The most amazing people make mistakes. In fact many of them make more mistakes than other people. To find new things: inventions, innovations, works of art - you have to make mistakes. If you do not make mistakes you are not taking risks and this will lead to mediocrity.
  • Wittgenstein
    329


    On the basis of no one being perfect. Whether we should forgive others or advise them to forgive themselves is difficult to decide simply because of the various different situations there are and each case being unique.

    I think the usage in an artistic/academic sense is easier to decide on. We should strive for perfection and never tell ourselves or others that no one is perfect. It would be even better if we incorporate it into our moral fabrics but it would be too burdensome for mortals like us. I haven't seen people being disappointed in themselves for moral reasons. The sense of being guilty for all the good deeds that we didn't carry out is lost. As for great artists making a lot of mistakes, great artists and great intellectuals do not benefit from the standards we impose on ourselves. There is a saying that artists never finish their work, only abandon it. Once an artist accepts his work as being good enough, he fails to improve it.There is always room for improvement. We will benefit more by striving for perfection.
  • Judaka
    683

    You really gave stupid examples, intent matters and context matters. You can't make a phrase sound bad by giving ludicrous examples of people using it to say absurd things like "forgive your rapist nobody is perfect" and whatnot lmao.
  • Possibility
    1.5k
    It is an excuse for mediocrity. Most of us want to feel that everyone is like us. In reality, there are countless people in every field that are light years ahead of us and no matter how much we strive, we cannot reach their level. I don't even know if it is worth doing something unless you aim for perfection.Wittgenstein

    Yes, it can be used as an excuse for mediocrity, but recognising that nobody IS perfect can also be helpful as we aim for the possibility of perfection. The ultimate value of an effort is not always known at the outset, and sometimes a reminder that even those who are light years ahead of us are not perfect either is enough incentive to keep striving, and neither settle for mediocrity nor give up, nor for that matter, expect to achieve perfection alone. Each of us is imperfect in our own way - in my view it’s our collaboration that approaches perfection, not our individual efforts.
  • Frank Apisa
    2k
    Yeah...

    ...but the one that really drives me nuts is, "Everybody is a sinner!"
  • Coben
    1.5k
    Once an artist accepts his work as being good enough, he fails to improve it.There is always room for improvement. We will benefit more by striving for perfection.Wittgenstein

    You can make mistakes AND acknowledge that, without assuming you could have been perfect AND not accept it as it is. If you expect perfection now, in this moment, you won't allow yourself to take risks. Taking risks entails knowing that there will be failures. That doesn't mean you accept that you cannot make something incredible, it means you accept the fact that along the way you have to make mistakes. And inventors and scientists and artists have in many instances said that you have to make mistakes and not making them is a problem. This in no way stops one from striving for perfection. These are two separate things.
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