7 Ways to Deal with Negative Criticism

criticismNegative critics can undermine your confidence. Their usual behavior is to criticize every idea you express or behavior you have or even your preferences in any area of your life.

The reasons they give you sound good and sometimes are even very rational, but there’s a difference between constructive criticism and negative criticism.

Constructive criticism gives you a feedback that can be useful. It’s very specific and generally describes a behavior or a mistake that has been made or something specific that can be improved: if you make a mistake typing a document, your boss might tell you to be more precise in your work because the docs were important and you should pay more attention to what you do etc.

A complaint is also specific: if you haven’t cleaned the kitchen, your partner might complain and say something like “I’m upset that you didn’t clean the kitchen. Please be more cooperative next time”

Negative criticism is very different. Its characteristics are:

1) Over-generalization

2) Globalization of the negatives

3) Words like never, always and forever are used.

1) Over generalization in negative criticism means that the critic that has been made is toward your identity instead of on a specific behavior. If you drop the milk on the ground and the kitchen is a mess, that person instead of just complaining, will tell you something like “why do you always have to be so clumsy?”

2) Globalizing the negatives in negative criticism means that the critic is made to every area of your life, not only about that specific incident. If you forgive to do something, for instance, they’ll tell you something like “That’s so typical of a dumb person like you”

3) Words like never, always and forever are often used to underline the fact that this particular fault has always been and always will be part of your identity and that you’re some kind of a lost cause.

This behavior can deeply undermine your self-esteem, especially if the negative criticism comes from a  person you see every day, such as a co-worker, your boss or a parent. Day by day this little stream of critics can become an ocean and deeply damage your self-esteem and self-image.

Never-ending negative critics can deeply affect you and the future of your life.

There are some ways to face this type of behavior and the most efficient are:

1) Challenge the negative critic to be specific: if they tell you that you’re clumsy, remind them you’re a good tennis player (for instance) and so you’re not clumsy at all. Do that when they’ve calmed down.

2) Ask them about your positives: negative critics often think they don’t need to remind you about the things they appreciate about you. Force them to think about them and to express their appreciation.

3) Pay attention if the negative critic is describing also is own traits: force them to notice

4) Talk about what is happening now. If the critic, instead of talking about what just happened, complains about things that happened weeks or years ago, force him to focus on the event that happened at the moment. The past is past.

5) Try to stay calm and detached. Try to face the situation form an external point of view.

6) Never accept generalizations. The critic should be specific, time-limited and about a specific event

7) Learn to deal with over-emotional people. Remember that negative critic is an over-emotional person so don’t take personally what the critic says.

Hope this will help 🙂

The best of Luck to You


Leave a Reply