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The Art of Criticizing to Make People Love You But Not Hate You

The Art of Criticizing to Make People Love You But Not Hate You

It’s hard for anyone to take criticism. If you asked for it, you essentially opened yourself up to negative remarks about your attitude, lifestyle or something you created. If you didn’t ask for the criticism, like in the case of an intervention, it’s even tougher to hear things about yourself that need improving. It’s never easy to give that kind of feedback, but there are plenty of ways to lighten things up a bit. Here are nine things you can do to deliver criticism that will make people more likely to love you than hate you.

1. Plan ahead.

The time and place criticism is shared plays a big part in how well it’s received. Be sure to give feedback to someone in a place that they’re already at least fairly comfortable at. Interventions are usually held in the subject of the intervention’s home, for instance. It might be better to do it somewhere less familiar, though, so that they’re not reminded of their faults every time they come home after a long day’s work. A friend’s place may be a good location. Ultimately, though, the best spot comes down to the individual’s specific circumstances.

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2. Be pragmatic.

Criticism often produces an emotional reaction from the criticized, but try not to show too much emotion yourself. Say what it is you need to say without breaking down, or the subject of criticism might feel guilty that they’re making you upset or angry.

3. Be empathetic.

While being pragmatic, you should also demonstrate that you really care about the subject of criticism. Smile and use warm body language to signify that you’re on their side.

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4. Be specific.

Dancing around the real problems won’t help anyone. In your criticism be sure to mention specific things the subject has done so that your friend, family member or peer understands what effect they’ve had on you and others.

5. Focus on improvement.

The whole point of criticism is to help somebody improve, so be sure to focus on things the subject can do to become a better person or artist. So give them some ideas for ways to improve, but at the same time—

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6. Don’t solve their problem for them.

The subject of criticism has to come to some sorts of conclusions of their own after you deliver your feedback. If you tell them everything they have to do to get better without leaving them any leeway to find their own road to self-improvement, they won’t travel far before reverting back to old ways.

7. Know when enough’s enough.

It’s understandable that you want to explain to someone everything they need to improve at, but a good critic knows when they’ve told the subject of criticism everything they’ll be able to absorb in one sitting. If your friend wrote a bad screenplay, don’t nitpick everything you don’t like about the script. If your sibling is struggling with addiction, avoid pointing out every instance that addiction has worsened their life. Hit the important notes, and plan to work on the rest with them later.

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8. End with something positive.

Remind the subject of criticism why they’re so special and worth the time you’re spending on them. It might be beneficial to change the subject somewhat to spin the conversation towards why that person is great instead of where that person’s failed.

9. Follow up.

A lot of people think criticism ends once you share your feedback. This is a pretty dangerous assumption. The subject will probably feel fragile after hearing what you and others felt the need to share, so you need to monitor them and ensure that they’re actually taking steps to improve their life. The criticizing itself is hard, but you have to remember that it’s only the first step in a longer path to improvement.

Featured photo credit: Simo Järvinen via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 12, 2019

12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

Here are 12 things to remember:

1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

10. Journal During This Time

Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

Final Thoughts

Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

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Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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