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How To Give Criticism To Your Man Without Getting Mad

How To Give Criticism To Your Man Without Getting Mad

Unless your guy is from outer space then there have probably been times when he’s done something to upset you – most likely unintentionally – after all they are from Mars and we are from Venus.

It’s no secret that men and women have different brains and the way in which we think and perceive things can vary from each other. This can inevitably make relationships trying at times and conflicts can arise but there is a good way to deal with these differing of opinions and a not so good way. If you know you have a genuinely good man in your life then you know that dealing with life’s arguments and conflicts need to be dealt with in a balanced constructive way. If you find yourself getting mad, angry and acting out when you feel he’s done something wrong then you might want to learn to deal with the situation in a healthy, calm way using what I like to call ‘constructive criticism’. It’s not about playing games or manipulation – it’s understanding the fine balance of human relationships, interactions and emotions that can lead to less conflict and upset.

The following points can be applied to any situation where constructive criticism is needed but for this article I’m going to use a common pet peeve: communication – or lack of it. This can leave a woman to pull her hair out with frustration and a man left wondering what the heck he’s done wrong.

1. Self-Evaluate

This isn’t to try and point blame at you but we are all complex beings and issues are part and parcel of every person. It’s natural to want to stick up for yourself if you feel you’re being taken advantage of but it’s also important to stop and check your thoughts, feelings and actions before you dive into the crux of the matter. If you’re feeling angry and upset, ask yourself some questions – why do you feel this way? Is there another root cause or issue that you’re not dealing with e.g. past bad relationships? Has something triggered this reaction? Is it a reoccurring emotion that may need looking at more closely? Are you being fair?

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This isn’t to say you should just let it lie if you feel the situation is genuinely upsetting you. Stepping back and looking within yourself first can eliminate any unrelated issues and could possibly diffuse the conflict before it’s happened.

2. Pick The Right Time For Constructive Criticism

Even though you are giving him constructive criticism in the best way possible, timing is still an important factor when bringing it up. Find a time when he’s ready to listen and not just when you’re ready to talk. Make sure it’s not the moment he walks through the door after a long day or any time that he might be tired and unable to process a serious talk with you. After all you want to have his full attention so you can get the best out of him. It’s also good to bring up the discussion with a question – this makes it feel like you’re willing to talk about this at a time when he’s ready and shows consideration. It will go a long way from his point of view.

For example, when you think it may be a good time just go ahead and ask “I wanted to talk to you about something, is this a good time?”

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

Think twice and try to figure out the possible root problems before giving out any criticism. Jumping to conclusions and assumptions will only create more unneeded upset and drama for both parties.

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For example, if you haven’t heard from him for a while or he hasn’t let you know he got somewhere safely then maybe there is a genuine reason – he’s busy and stressed or he’s been distracted by something. A lot of the time people have genuine reasons for not getting in touch (and this isn’t exclusive to men). Giving them the benefit of the doubt is the least you can do before jumping to conclusions and turning it into an expression of emotion especially if you don’t know the full story. Find out the facts first – at least your criticism will be more concrete this way.

4. Highlight How It Makes You Feel

The key is not to do this in an emotional way but calmly and to the point. People react much better to criticism when they can relate to the consequences their actions have to others. Sometimes people just unintentionally don’t see others’ perspectives and gently shifting this is a good way to allow them to see how what they’re doing is affecting you.

For example, explain to him that his lack of contact makes you worried about him and you don’t like feeling this way. After all it’s natural to feel worried especially if it’s someone you care about and it’s not unreasonable. This will allow him to see the consequences of his actions from your perspective and also show that he’s cared about.

5. Don’t Make It Personal

We have a tendency to point the blame when we’re angry and this can cause the other person to feel victimised and become defensive creating more anger in the process. Try to point to the problem instead by using non-judgemental language.

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For example, instead of piling on the blame with statements such as “it’s showing to me that you lack responsibility!” use more descriptive statements such as “you haven’t contacted me for a while and it’s starting to upset me”. When you put yourself in their position, getting blamed for things and having your character questioned is no fun for anyone whether they’re in the right or the wrong so there are better ways to approach this.

6. Listen To What He Has To Say

This can be hard especially when you feel you are the one upset by his actions – it should be him listening to you, right? Make sure you don’t make it all about you as this just opens up the divide and really creates a you vs. him situation. No matter what he has to say, listen to him and take what he’s saying onboard. If you feel his response is unreasonable or he shows no remorse or lack of understanding as to why you’re upset then tell him in a calm way using the other points listed here.

7. Include The Things He’s Done Right

Remember that you’ve chosen to be with this guy so hopefully he’s worth it and does a lot of great stuff for you. Whatever he’s done may be an annoying habit but it’s important to keep in mind all the wonderful qualities he has and the times he’s gone above and beyond for you. This doesn’t mean you should dismiss what he’s done but use this to diffuse the criticism and get him to understand that you do ultimately appreciate him. Guys do love a bit of appreciation!

For example, either before or after the constructive criticism just add in “I want you to know I really appreciate you and what you do for me”. You can even give examples and saying this will reenforce his status as your man and allow him to take the criticism with a more balanced view instead of feeling victimised and unappreciated.

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Conclusion

Feeling our emotions both positive and negative is a good thing but when we’re in a relationship these emotions can get intertwined with the person we share our life with. When something is bugging you then you need to bring it up and not box it up and lock it away as that only results in it manifesting somewhere else down the line and to a more substantial degree.

Constructive criticism is a way to allow you and the other person to view each others’ perspectives and solve the problem in a calm and ‘adult’ manner. All relationships are complex but if you find that using constructive criticism still doesn’t resolve the problem over time, then it might be time to question the amount of respect your partner has for you.

Featured photo credit: Charlie Foster via stocksnap.io

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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