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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

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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