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10 Things to Tell Yourself If You Will Spend Christmas Alone

10 Things to Tell Yourself If You Will Spend Christmas Alone

Oh man, the holiday season is upon us and so is yet another month filled with the constant reminder of who you do and do not have in your life at the moment. Something about this season makes people go nutty over the idea of being with others. It’s this obsession that drives many a single person into a state of sheer loneliness at least once or twice a day. But what if we changed all that? What if you could break the lonely trend and actually be happy to spend some one-on-one time with yourself this year? Let’s add to this the fact that you’ll come out a stronger person because of it. Sounds pretty fabulous, right?

Let’s start the process to being an amazing, fearless, single individual by taking care of that loneliness – one positive affirmation at a time. Check out the following list of the 10 best things you can tell yourself when you get lonely this Christmas:

1. Your Cat Loves You

This may seem like an attack on my fellow cat connoisseurs. Trust me, it’s not. In fact, this point extends even to those who choose the “alternative lifestyle” of living with a dog. Your pet legitimately loves you and wants your attention! Don’t have one? Now’s the time to get one. There’s nothing more soothing than snuggling up with your furry friend when times get tough. They love you, give them some love back. Next thing you know, you’re not so lonely anymore.

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2. Groceries are Cheaper for One

Sometimes, roommates make a pact to “split the cost of groceries” or “leave each other’s food alone”. I think we all know what really happens. You end up footing the bill for their gluttony. Here is where the beauty of living alone comes into play. Your food is actually yours. No more fighting over the last yogurt…the yogurt that you bought, by the way. You’re welcome, self.

3. Your PTO is Yours This Year

Ugh… It’s your day off and this person in your life insists that you parade around from house to house, meeting different relatives and family friends whom you’ve been so fortunately selected to impress. No thanks! This year, your paid time off is all yours. No awkward moments in attempting to dodge angst-filled glares from preteen cousins. Better yet, no fending off the marriage question everyone is asking at this, the tender age of 35. Nope, you can do anything you want with your time off. How about a trip to Vegas? Bocca? Hawaii? Doesn’t matter! You don’t have to answer to anyone this year. Congrats!

4. Romance Makes You Nauseous

Something about the holiday season makes everyone get all touchy feely. The last thing you need is your significant other of two weeks suggestively directing you toward the Zales window. Those cold, creepy, horse-drawn carriages? Nope. A burnt tongue from hot cocoa and blisters from that mediocre ice rink visit? Not this year! All that sappy, sap, sappiness can be left to those who don’t have a date with Mad Men and a few glasses of vino.

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5. Opting for a Night in with Netflix is Trendy These Days

Speaking of Mad Men, let’s give a big thank you to Netflix! Any show you want to watch, season after season, is right there when you need it. The best part? It’s actually cool to make your dates with Netflix now! Once you’ve completed the entire series, you can choose to move onto the next show, or go out on the town for some real-person interaction. It really doesn’t matter. The great thing here is that you aren’t forced either way…sensing a theme here, eh?

6. Christmas Cheer is an Option, Not a Requirement

Christmas is awesome. There’s no denying that. The only not-so-awesome thing about it is when others try to convince you that it’s necessary to constantly listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, engage in Christmas activities, basically fake a festive spirit for the sake of “the best Christmas ever”. Sure, you’ll have your moments of pure Christmas bliss, but they’ll be on your watch, allowing you to actually enjoy the spirit of the season – not fake your way through it.

7. Yours is the Only Awkward Christmas Party

Possibly one of the best things about being “lonely” this holiday season is not having to head out to a bunch of awkward holiday Christmas parties throughout the month of September. You may have a few of your own, but you’ll more than likely know the people there, and better yet, you choose whether or not you go. Even if your loneliness is caused by living far from loved ones, you’ll enjoy having a good excuse not to play carpool with your siblings and partake in family cooking events. Much easier to keep up that daily routine you’re adjusting to with fewer obligations.

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8. There’s no Heat to be Caught

When that festive smile turns to a blank face after three hours of holiday festivities, you’re bound to catch some heat from your date. Even worse, if you provide an unfavorable answer to questions asked by friends and family regarding your thoughts on marriage, politics, etc. You’re skipping the nagging in favor of a good time at holiday parties this year. That sounds like a smart idea, if you ask me.

9. That One Starbucks Always Appreciates Your Business

Some Starbucks locations are friendlier than others. Chances are, you’ve identified the one with the nicest baristas (I sure have!). Go there. Something about their “Have a great day!” seems so much more believable than when your grocery store clerk says it. You might even be a regular. This is awesome. Not only do the baristas know your order, but you can catch a quick convo before returning to your Netflix-athon. #winning.

10. Life is What you Make it

Alright, time to get a little serious. Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be. If you constantly dwell on your single status, your life will become centered around finding “the one” and being miserable until that happens. Forget about that quest and take time to enjoy your single self. Life should be about you and the amazing impact you can make during your time on this planet, not your ability to settle into a relationship with someone you’re not absolutely head over heels for..

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Featured photo credit: Cute young woman playing with snow in fur coat outdoors via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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