How To Get Along With Critical People
Stop criticizing me! There is nothing wrong with me. Wait, it’s not me, it’s you. We all from time to time have to deal with those ultra annoying critical people. You know the type, that’s an ugly pair of glasses you’re wearing, it doesn’t suit your round face. People who can spot some type of personal flaw from across the shopping mall, often gives unsolicited rude advice, frequently complains, whines and passes unwanted judgment, is always negative and seems impossible to please.
True, that we all can be critical at times. Each and every day, we can literally critique anyone and everything that goes on around us, whether consciously or unconsciously. Unfortunately, there are some people that tend to verbalize their exact thoughts that many of us have learned to keep to ourselves. When things do not go our way, or we are in a bad mood, it becomes easy to be critical. It’s true that miserable people just prefer miserable company. Critical people actually often feel better around others whiners who share the same negative attitudes. Before we spend some time learning how to properly cope with other people’s critical traits, make sure you have your own under control.
It can be a challenge to get along and cope with a constant critic, especially if we have to live or work with them.
The Top 10 Tips To Get Along With Critical People
What Motivates People To Be Critical
Hurting people hurt people. Most critics were criticized themselves as children and did not develop the sense of security and healthy identity that can come from positive nurturing. They tend to have a low opinion of themselves and consequently feel best (although often frustrated) when attempting to achieve the unrealistic standards they set for themselves and others. Critics are often motivated by the need to feel better about themselves by putting other people down. Understanding their motivation can help us to develop empathy and compassion, two qualities that will help you get along with critical people.
Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water
Although critical people often lack diplomacy and tact, they also tend to be able to size up people and situations accurately. You may be tempted to discount what you hear, but listen carefully to what they say because there is often valuable information underneath the sharp edges of the message.
Just Confront Your Critic
It is not easy to confront interpersonal problems, but it is typically the best approach. Be willing to tell the critic in your life how you feel about the way they interact with you. This won’t guarantee change, however, by expressing your thoughts and feelings you are in a better position to manage your own emotions and behaviors. Emotional expression will decrease your chances of growing embittered, and consequently, doing or saying something you’ll regret.
Focus On The Truth and Not The Criticism
If someone puts you down, fight the temptation to dwell on the criticism. If there is something you can learn from the message, do so, but then move on. Instead of dwelling on the negative comment focus on the gifts, talents and strengths that you possess.
Be Careful About Sharing With The Critical Person
It’s not always wise to share personal or important information with a critic, about yourself or anyone else. Providing such information is asking for trouble because critical people often take things out of context, misinterpret or exaggerate information and place a negative spin on ideas or opinions. Learn how to discern what you should and should not reveal. When in doubt, don’t share.
Don’t Start Criticizing Others
It can be easy to fall into the trap of criticizing others when you’re around a critical person. Joining in on the criticism only serves to legitimize the behavior in the mind of the critic, and the transition into gossip is close behind. Today the criticism is about someone else, tomorrow it could be directed towards you.
Limit The Time You Spend With Critical People
It may be very appropriate to limit the amount of time you spend with a critic. This, of course, can be difficult if they happen to be your spouse, parent or boss. However, it may be in your best interest to let the person know that your level of interaction with them will be based, in part, on their willingness to communicate with you in a constructive and appropriate manner. If the critic is your spouse you may benefit from consulting with a professional marriage counselor.
Control Your Response
Pay close attention to how you respond to criticism. If you tend to react with anger, hurt or intimidation, you will encourage the critical behavior. Critical people are often motivated to behave the way they do because of the response they trigger in others. When you learn to not overreact, the critic will likely move on to someone who will.
Understand The Needs Of Critical People
The emotional “gas tank” of a critical person is often very low. Criticism is sometimes an outward expression of an inward need – usually the need to feel worthwhile and significant. It is surprising how a sincere compliment, congratulations or demonstration of care and concern can improve your relationship. People with full emotional tanks are the least likely to mistreat others.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Critical people do not change overnight. Even if they’re attempting to make positive progress, they will likely revert back to their old annoying ways from time to time, especially if they are under stress. Realistic expectations of them will help guide the interactions with that person and will result in a healthier relationship.