Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Becoming The Receiving End

Whether you deserve it or not, you will be the subject of criticism at one point or another in your life. Be ready. If the criticism is justified, accept it and treat it as a problem that needs to be resolved. Acknowledge that you have a challenge ahead of you and make it clear to the person who pointed out the shortcoming that you intend to address it.
If you believe that the criticism is unjustified or delivered harshly or publicly, you have every right to react in a different way. However, if you get angry and start shooting back, you will end up saying things you will regret and so will the person who offered the criticism in the first place. In this situation it is usually best to put off discussing the matter: “Let’s talk about this when we’re both a little calmer” or “We ought to get together and work this out. What’s a good time for you?” If someone says something critical about you in the presence of others, you can try “freezing” your critic by stopping whatever you are doing or saying and looking the person dead in the eye for a moment. Or you can say something like “Very little good comes of criticizing others in public. Please tell me your objections (or problems) in private.”
If you’re not sure that the criticism is justified or if you need time to think it over, you can say, “I’m glad you’re letting me know what’s on your mind. I’d like to think about it and get back to you.”
If you know you’ve goofed, it’s sometimes best to just say, “I apologize,” and that’s all. Depending on the situation, something more may be required: “I never intended to (embarrass, upset, offend) you, but I can see that I did, and I’m sorry.” But don’t whine, don’t grovel, and don’t make excuses or try to shift the blame.

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