Few people are able to truly accept and appreciate (and benefit) constructive feedback and criticism. However, this is just one reason as to why it is really worth it for you to learn how to handle and respond to criticism the right way – so that you stand out from the rest as a more attractive and mature person, friend, or lover. Whether it’s your friend, dating partner or a spouse – knowing how to handle situations where someone is criticizing you is a key to avoiding conflicts and making that relationship work. This is especially true when it comes to your partner’s criticism of you – your actions, your words and the choices you make from their point of view.
What do most people do when they are criticized or when they are given advice? They either get defensive or start attacking whoever criticizes them or both. Or, they gently strike back and say that they don’t need any advice from them at all unless they ask for it, and that whoever gives them advice should mind their own business. This leads to unnecessary conflicts and fighting. Consider a situation where a girl is late for her date, and the guy calls her on that: “Hey, I wish you could make it on time, as I don’t like when people are late.” This is hardly a criticism, and would rather be considered a suggestion for having greater courtesy. The only correct way to respond to a criticism that’s justified is to apologize and act on that little suggestion for improvement in one’s behavior.
What if, for instance, a couple goes out, the guy has too much to drink and as a result acts irrationally, making a fool of himself and not even remembering what happened the next day. The girl he was out with will urge him to not drink that much and to perhaps generally reconsider his drinking habits. Many guys will respond defensively with: “It’s none of your business how much I drink, I will do what I want, and I will not change my life for anyone, etc…” This response is not the right way to handle a situation where the other person is obviously motivated by his/her concern toward you and not because they wish bad things to happen to you. The right way to respond to this kind of criticism is to acknowledge that they have a good point and that you will consider what they are telling you. And by the way, you would have nothing to lose by considering the advice you receive.
What if your partner or anyone else tells you that you should have handled a certain situation differently? Or you should be more proactive about some goal you are trying to achieve and not procrastinate that much? Do you brush off that person’s words by telling them that you are not going to change what you do for anyone else, that you are going to be yourself, and that you don’t need advice? But, what good would that kind of response do to you? Wouldn’t it make more sense to at least consider the advice you receive, instead of attacking the person who took the time to share his thoughts on your issue, however extreme and opposite they might be from the ones you have? You can always dismiss it, but even if there is some merit in what you hear, you might benefit greatly. Knowing how to handle tough love is an essential part of that attractive confidence all of us want to have and which we also like to see so much in others. This is exactly how you should handle your partner’s criticism – whether you just started seeing each other or have been dating for a while.
And be assured that when you respond to criticism/advice with the genuine: “thank you, I appreciate it, I will have to think about that…” you will impress the other person in ways that few of your actions or words can. Try it and you will see the benefits of following the above advice for yourself.