You get a D and a ton of red marks on a research paper. Your boss at your part-time job tells you how you could improve your customer service. Your coach gives you advice on how to better clear those hurdles, so you’re ready for your next meet. Maybe you feel hurt. Maybe you feel angry. But instead of going ham on the messenger, learn from the feedback and get better. Otherwise, you could end up burning bridges and hurting important relationships in the long run.
Here’s how to keep your cool, accept constructive criticism, and stay classy:
1) Never use foul language. (No, not even the acronyms. We see you about to ask.)
2) Never make things personal. Keep it about the work or the situation. Getting all defensive and going off on somebody in person — or in an e-mail, text, whatever — only makes you look cray.
3) Always understand that the feedback is meant to help you, not hurt you. Odds are, you’re getting such commentary from your parents, teachers, and even friends. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t say anything, and a bad habit left unchecked can lead to trouble down the road.
4) Never be a hater. Brush off any feelings of bitterness and keep it movin’. Nobody’s perfect and we all have room for improvement. Even if you made a huge, damaging mistake, leave it in the past and work hard not to repeat it.
5) Always use the feedback to your advantage. Show everybody you took their advice seriously by actively making changes. At school, up your research and writing skills and make your next effort impressive — asking the teacher for more help also shows you’re willing to learn. At work, smile at the customers more and greet them when they come in. On the track (or in whatever after-school activity you participate), practice, practice, practice. You got this.
6) Never let it bring you down. Stay positive and know that you can only get better from here.
7) Always remember that true constructive criticism doesn’t attack you as a person. There’s no name-calling or rudeness, just simple statements of fact, followed by advice.
Have you ever known someone to lose it over feedback? What happened? How do you deal? Comment below!