5 Steps to Handle Criticism Gracefully - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


5 Steps to Handle Criticism Gracefully

Taking criticism is never easy. Here’s how to check yourself and avoid ruining your relationships.


The first time a close friend took me aside to share some serious criticism was in 11th grade. She saw me making a mistake and tried to help me fix it. At the time, I jumped to the defensive and ignored her comments. Only with the 20/20 vision of hindsight did I realize that she was right. Our closest friends know us better than anyone, meaning that they’re the best people to help us tackle our flaws.

Taking criticism is never easy. Hearing about our own flaws tends to bring up a defensive response that has ended many a friendship in the past. But getting criticism is also the only way we can work to improve. Next time a friend tries to give you constructive advice, do your best to get what you can out of it without getting hurt.

5 Steps to Handle Criticism Gracefully

  1. Differentiate Between Mean And Constructive Comments

Just because a friend tries to help you, doesn’t mean she’s right. If your friend is more insulting than constructive, it might be time to reevaluate your relationship. But if she takes you aside and addresses the issue with kindness and respect, recognize that she’s doing her best to help you. Hear her out.

  1. Avoid Defensiveness

If your friend shares constructive criticism with respect, avoid getting defensive. Responding to criticism with a defensive or belligerent attitude is a sure-fire way to start an argument. Your first reaction might be to defend yourself and deny her claims, but try not to vocalize these feelings right away. Instead, thank your friend for her concern and take some distance to think things through.

Do your best to get what you can out of her advice

  1. Respect Their Opinion

Hearing criticism is hard, but so is approaching a friend with advice. Respect that your friend has your best intentions at heart and wants to help you. Instead of harboring resentful feelings, think about what you’d do if you reversed your roles. Letting a loved one make mistakes is easy–it’s much harder to intervene, but in the end it’s the right thing to do. Hard as it might be to hear, take the advice as a sign of love. It takes a lot of courage and affection to approach someone on a sensitive topic.

5 Steps to Handle Criticism Gracefully

  1. Evaluate With Honesty

Before broaching the topic again, think about what your friend had to say and evaluate her opinion. Be honest with yourself—is she right? If you have questions or want to talk things out more, go to your friend for help. Likewise, if you’re feeling hurt or blindsided, now is the time to talk through those emotions.

  1. Set Goals

Once you’ve evaluated your friend’s advice, decide how you want to use it. Form some concrete goals based on the advice you’ve received to improve yourself. No one is perfect, and criticism is the only way we can see our own flaws and work on them. Use your friend’s honesty to make new goals for self-improvement.

Avoid getting defensive to understand her point of view

Those close to us see us at our worst, making them the best people to turn to in times of trouble. They’re also the best people to help us better ourselves. Sensitive topics are difficult for everyone involved, but we walk away stronger, ready to strive for new goals.

Born in France but raised all over the place, Auriane has wanted to write ever since she was old enough to spell her name. In her spare time she loves reading, hanging out with her best friends (even when they're not in the same time zone), and spontaneous singing with her Broadway-bound roommate.

Reader Discussion: 34 Comments

  1. Just suck it up. Don’t get affected by all the shit you hear and just suck it up. learn from it. adapt! overcome! Only the weak get affected by dumb words!

  2. All negative criticisms are from jealous nobodies who want to do what you do that don’t have the guts to do it.

  3. Zerin Martin

    Be open to criticism because it’ll help you grow as a person into becoming a better one than before. These are good advices! Keep it up.

  4. Luthi Sanders

    It’s true that it’s hard to criticize someone, especially if that’s your friend. Coz you know that they can get offended. You have to be brave to talk to them

    • Alexiane Verdito

      I agree but I don’t criticize my friend unless they’re doing something very bad for themselves. I just take my friend as they come with everything I don’t like with them.

  5. Okay, this is a really good article. I had friends before, we were all like sisters. But whenever they give advice, they were controlling! They want you to follow their advice. Not letting you decide and do your own. And if you didn’t follow them? They will all got mad and leave you all alone.

  6. Alena Martin

    Be an open-minded person when a person tells you the wrong things they’ve observed from you. Never take it as an insult and get offended. Rather, think about what they have said and re-evaluate yourself!

  7. Jurik Smith

    There are also those kinds of “friends” that will say they care for you and give you these advices, but will betray you at the end of the day. smh

  8. Jessi Agusta

    If you’re a true friend, you can be able to point out their mistakes, even though it’s difficult, you want them to correct them and to never do it again.

  9. Steev Smith

    Guys just keep things cool in their friendship. Less drama, fewer fights.

  10. Honey Smith

    With the mistakes that you make, you’ll be able to see who your true friends are that really cares for you.

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