6 Ways to Deal with Critical People
Constructive criticism is fine, but some people are so relentlessly negative that they can suck the joy out of life. No matter what happy news you might have, they are guaranteed to find the cloud to fit your silver lining.
Here are 6 strategies you can use to deal with critical people.
It’s a safe bet that it’s not you, it’s them. Some people just hug their negativity around them like a security blanket, and it colors their view of the world. They criticize everything because that suits them. Watch how they treat other people. It’s guaranteed they criticize everybody, not just you.
- Listen to The Message
Is the person obscuring the message? Maybe your critical colleague or friend is tactless, or bad at expressing themselves rather than being mean. Try to see past the delivery to understand what is really being said, otherwise you might miss out on some valuable advice.
- Accept the Feedback
You can decide to take crucial feedback on its own merits. That is, as a source of honest feedback. At least with hypercritical people what you see is what you get! If you can see past the blunt delivery, you may be able to find a kernel of truth that can improve the way you do things.
- Deal with Your Discomfort
Criticism never feels good. Try to read your own discomfort as another source of information about what is being said. Does the negative feedback trigger a recognition deep within you? Maybe it subconsciously reminds you of a past event, but maybe there’s a ring of truth in the criticism. Sit with your discomfort and see what it’s telling you.
- If You Can’t Take the Heat, Stay Out of the Kitchen
If you can’t stand being criticized, then it’s up to you not to get into situations with people who are likely to criticize you. Don’t ask for advice or expose yourself to their negativity. They’re not likely to change, so you need to take control and avoid such conversations. Do not share good news if you know they’ll throw cold water on it. Don’t seek their praise if you know you won’t get it.
Sometimes as a caregiver, you cannot avoid certain people. Their relationship to your care receiver often necessitates seeing the negative person. In this case, try to limit sharing and establish boundaries. This can be done by politely saying things like: since mom is living with me, I am better qualified to make that decision. We can discuss other options if you want to share the workload?
In my experience, the complainers seldom help with the work.
- Stay Out of Their Way
You have a choice about how to deal with critical people. You can decide not to engage with their negativity, you can ignore them, or you can just avoid them altogether. If you must have contact with a negative person at work, for example, be helpful but don’t engage with them. Otherwise, it’s up to you whether you want to have any contact with such negativity, or not.