We all get criticized, but sometimes criticism goes too far. Here are some ways to respond to the kind of criticism that drives you crazy.
2. Recognize online haters for what they are. And what are they? Pathetic. You know who these people are. They get their kicks out of antagonizing others. They think they’re being smart, but really they’re just acting like immature bullies. Recognize them for what they are, and don’t let their poisonous criticism get to you.
3. Just because someone is an “expert” doesn’t make them right. Granted, some criticism you receive may be accurate, but don’t take nasty criticism to heart just because the person dishing it out is perceived as an expert. Other people may bow down to them, but you don’t have to.
4. Criticism is NOT constructive feedback. This is not a game of semantics. People who defend their criticism as “just trying to help” are full of it. There is a HUGE difference between destructive criticism and constructive feedback. What’s the difference? It’s a matter of respect, and it’s that respect that dictates how we interact with one another. If someone respects you, they will give you constructive feedback in a non-threatening way. If it’s coming at you in cutting and rude ways, that person has no respect for you.
6. Don’t get defensive. If you’re receiving nasty and inaccurate criticism, don’t bother getting defensive. You can argue logically until you are blue in the face. Nothing will change. So don’t waste your energy trying to prove to some irrational jerk you’re right. Do something more positive with your time.
7. Be direct. If you choose to respond, and it’s usually best not to, do it directly and privately. Avoid doing it in a public forum, which is the kind of attention certain types of people feed on. Confronting critical bullies in person or by phone may be more effective than through e-mail or other online forums. Don’t put yourself in physical danger, though.
8. Don’t take the bait. Criticism is often just a way to bait someone into something entertaining for the antagonist. Don’t take the bait. Envision their criticism bouncing off you and sticking to them (remember the childhood rhyme?)
9. Thank them. Thank the individual for their criticism and go about your way. Let them know you appreciate them sharing their opinion, and let them know that you’ll “think about what they said.” Just don’t mention that while you’re thinking about it, you’re going to be laughing (and potentially swearing) at them.
10. Compliment them. This goes along the line of thanking them, but it forces you to think something positive about the person who just criticized or insulted you. You’ll have more positive feelings towards them and their criticism will hopefully seem just silly.
11. Consider their motivation. Is this person just trying to piss you off? What are they trying to get out of criticizing you. Taking a moment to reflect on their possible motivation will help put things into perspective for you. It’s usually more about them than it actually is about you.
12. Ask them to stop. Rather than trying to prove to them why they are wrong, try asking them to stop – and ask nicely. The chances of this working probably aren’t that high when you’re dealing with most jerks, but it’s a worth shot. It’s a civil way to react – if you feel you must react.
13. Forget about it. Don’t waste your time obsessing about the criticism, the person, or other people’s reactions. Time you spend thinking about negative criticism is time you could spend doing something awesomely creative – like thinking of a new invention or what you’ll be having for dinner. The more you think about negative stuff, the more that negative energy surrounds you and brings you down. Let your thoughts go somewhere more positive – don’t let your criticizers have the power to get into your head. You are better than that.
14. Spread compliments. For every criticism you receive, give out three sincere compliments to other people in your life (through their blogs, at work, on the phone, strangers, etc). It’s like paying it forward but even better. Take something negative and turn it into three positive things. Imagine what your life (and the world) would be like if we all did that.
15. The never-sent letter. Have some things you’d like to get off your chest? Write that letter, and be as nasty or as honest as you’d like to be. This is best hand-written, but I personally like to write on my computer because it’s faster and I can edit. If you write it on your computer, print it – then delete it. Yes, delete it. This is a crucial part. Read it a few times, then grab a coffee can, go outside, and set it on fire. Watch it burn – and let all those negative feelings you put into the letter burn with it.
Do you have other ideas for ways to respond to or deal with criticism? Share them below!