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

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5 Steps to Handle Criticism Gracefully

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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.

31 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Steev Smith

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

  8. Honey Smith

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

  9. Good friends help you become a better person. When they correct you, you’ll feel the sincerity from their pieces of advice.

  10. Bela Christo

    You’re lucky if you found good friends like these that’ll help you when you have mistakes. Other will just criticize you

  11. I am really bad at telling people what they are doing wrong, showing them their mistakes. I cannot even do it with my friends. I am always afraid it will not come out right and I will sounding hateful or negative.

  12. Heather Strobel

    Thanks so much! You have no idea how much I needed to hear this right now.

  13. Grace Stirling

    kudos!! Very good listed points, i think i’m going to try this and see how it works. Good luck to myself! lol ?

  14. Louise Stone

    Your words really resonate with me and remind me that life is an adventure. I think we will always have fear of receiving criticisms, failure and rejection. These are natural human emotions i think, and there’s no way to completely get rid of them. The real goal is learning to accept our weaknesses. Hearing the criticism all the way through may teach us something.

  15. Lela House

    Great tips. I needed so much to read such words today. I tend to go straight to anger right after receiving criticism from others. But if you really listen and weigh its value, you can improve it and turn it around to your advantage. Fantastic advice, Thanks!

  16. Jenny Garett

    Meditation and exercise helps me with this-handling criticism. I think it is good to Take a few breaths after receiving a criticism and think about how to respond for a few moments. Even if someone delivers the criticism to you properly, it can still be hard to accept the truth of something. By pausing for a moment, you will be able to handle your emotions and think more clearly. Your perspective and advice is so helpful and appreciated.

  17. Merry Robinson

    The way you have narrated the article from the beginning to the end is fabulous, there seems to be a great flow in the way you have written the article.? Great tips on how to listen to criticism, handle your emotions, and learn to how to act in a positive manner. This speaks hugely to me and is very timely for me. I am definitely going to do this. Thank you.?

  18. Rosemary Robles

    Your tips are very important for every human being life. Don’t get stressed out and take criticism so seriously. If you’re smart, you’ll learn how to gracefully accept criticism, and even learn how to weigh its true. Thank you for the reminder. I think we all need to be reminded of this more often. ?

  19. Esther Earl Harris

    This is exactly what we needed to read. Criticism is constantly around us. We get it from people we know and even random strangers on the street. Learning how to receive criticism and handle them is a talent that requires practice. I will teach this to my son. thank you! 🙂

  20. Brooke Tyre

    Criticism is a vital part of living and growing up. Life is not without one. And criticism, while hurtful, is one of the many tools that will help transform us. So, when somebody criticizes us, they meant well. At least, those who care for us does.

    There are also those who love criticizing just for the heck of it, though. There are a lot of bullies out there who are simply out to get us. It may be because they want to pull us down as a projection of their sorry life, or to paint us black to make them look whiter. Whatever their issues in life are, it’s their fight and not ours. The key is discerning when to acknowledge, and to walk away. If there is merit to the criticism, why, it should be a chance for us to check ourselves for flaws and resolve it. But if there is none, well, life is short to be fighting all the battles not worthy of our limited time.

  21. Ashley Moore

    I would like to put the quote ” be sure to taste your words first before you spit them out”. For me, advising and reminding is a lot better than criticizing if you want to tell the truth to your friends and/or your loved ones. It is utterly hard on the part of the person who will receive it, but if they’ve really trusted their loved ones they will not get mad and listen. Some people are jealous of others because they are not happy with what they have, then they will use criticism and reverse psycho saying that the other are the ones who’re jealous of them. So.. I think that always having a clear and understandable conversation is essential.

  22. Aimee Marks

    It’s not easy to criticize. It takes a lot of guts. For those people who have our best interest at heart, their criticism is done in good faith. It’s meant to draw us away from or prevent more criticisms coming from people outside our support system or our circle. Friends easily criticize us because they somehow feel privileged to do it. It’s not to malign us, but to make us see that something is not right and it has to be corrected or changed.

  23. Jessica Carlson

    It shouldn’t be a criticism if it’s a fact. It might be something negative, but it is a fact nonetheless. No matter how hard it would be to accept it, nothing can change the fact that it is a fact. So, we just have to deal with it. If we can change that negative fact into something positive as a result, then that would surely be a favorable outcome for us.

  24. Hazel Collins

    There’s a saying that it is hard to accept the truth, which is utterly true. some people values their pride the most and replace the truth with lies just to ignore it. It’s essential to understand reality and accept the truth so that one can get back to leading his/her life the way they really want to. I value impartiality and other people’s perspectives. For me there are two kinds of criticism, the truth and the made up(maybe the people who said it just don’t like you at all).

  25. Fantastic advice! Of course, it’s very hard not to be “defensive.” For my part, when I receive criticisms from friends or people who have known me for so long and have seen me at my worst, their criticisms matter and I really try hard to improve. But for others, I just ignore. LOL

  26. Hannah Mayers

    Great tips!!! I tend to be angry when I receive criticisms. But quite often, when I really listen and take note, I find value in them and turn them around to my advantage.

    One of the things I do when I receive criticisms via email is writing back, BUT NOT SENDING IT (and I do this by editing the recipient’s email address to a wrong one as soon as I hit reply button)!!! In my reply email, I get out all my anger and frustration. After, I can actually take criticisms lighter and positively!

  27. “Don’t get mad.” “Take criticisms as constructive points.” Well, easier said than done. I have this in mind but I must admit, I still feel mad when I receive criticisms.

    I guess what makes the difference is the “tone” of voice of the critic(s). If comments are made in a nice tone, then I don’t have problems, but if it’s otherwise, oh! …. no comment with an eyebrow raised. LOL

  28. I usually respond to criticisms with silence. More often than not, wondering why that a criticism was made. I just believe that silence is much better response than defensiveness, anger or walking away.

  29. It is “ethical” to “thank” the person offering criticisms. More often than not, they’re coming from a “place” wanting to help. But of course, saying “thanks” takes courage.

    Everyone is entitled to own opinion. So instead of being defensive (and in a fighting mood), respond rationally and calmly. I’d suggest that you refrain from feeling mad but instead meditate and acknowledge other person’s point(s).

  30. When I receive criticisms, I ask myself why that criticism was made. Is the person trying to help or make things better? Is the person suggesting positive improvements? Or is the person just mean, jealous or in a rude mood?

    In my evaluation, I usually see that there is validity in the criticism but I make sure that it won’t let me down, instead take it to help me improve. But of course, it’s never easy to admit that I’m not perfect!

  31. Very well-written! When I was younger (and well, immature), I can’t help but get mad when I receive criticisms. But of course, life experiences taught me a different perspective — never ever respond to a critic in anger!

    Based on experience and faults from my past, I teach my daughter how to handle criticisms and how to make them constructive. Of course, there’s always a room for improvement. Not because someone criticized us means we are at our worst, stop and meditate, that “someone” might be challenging us to be better or be at our best 🙂

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