I recently celebrated my thirty-fifth birthday, so I’ve definitely heard some snarky comments from family and friends throughout my life … but people who are constantly critical of anything and everything can really drive me up a wall.
Obviously, hanging out with obnoxious jerks isn’t at the top of my to-do list and I don’t recommend adding it to yours either, but at some point or another you’re going to wind up dealing with a cynical pessimist that you just can’t stand. Whether it’s one of your co-workers or your best friend’s new girlfriend, you’ll probably find yourself curling your toes up inside your shoes and gritting your teeth.
Why are Some People Overly Critical?
Guidelines for Dealing with Critical People
- Ignore criticisms that you know are false, and don’t take them personally. This is easier said than done, but I’ve found if I smile and take a deep breath I can mentally roll my eyes and try my best to get away.
- Listen to the person without arguing. People who are overly critical often make comments just to get a reaction. If you refuse to take the bait and get angry, they may move on to someone else.
- Paraphrase what the person said and repeat it back to them. Some people might not realize that what they just said out loud was so crazy, and I’ve actually received an apology after trying this tactic.
- Offer your opinions. If someone wants to let you know what they think, give it right back to them and offer your own opinion on the topic.
- Don’t become defensive. You didn’t do anything wrong, and there’s no need to defend yourself to someone who enjoys spewing out criticism.
- Avoid that person in the future. This might seem next to impossible if the critical person sits next to you at work or they’re your relative, but if you constantly make excuses about being busy or simply walk away from them, eventually they’ll leave you alone.
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