Everybody wants to believe that they are the most flawless partner on this side of heaven, but face it—we all have our flaws. It can be tough to hear criticism about ourselves (no matter how constructive it is). Most of us instantly put up walls and refuse to receive any message that isn’t a glowing review. If that sounds like you, sis… you’re hustling backward! You should WANT to hear how you can self-improve (not for anyone else, but you). No matter how whiny it may come off, there may be some validity to your man’s “complaints” about you. Here are effective ways to respond to his criticisms (given they aren’t just jerk observations).
Let him get it out before responding
This one is hard for me. I have rebuttals ready while my guy is two sentences into his complaint, and it takes EVERYTHING in me to hold my response until he’s completely done. *sigh* However, I know that interrupting and rushing to “defend” myself against his complaint will only lead to an argument AND lowers the chances of him attempting to communicate issues in the future (no bueno). Be fair and let him have his moment so you can have yours (if needed) later.
Repeat back his complaint in your own words
This is the best way to make sure you’re understanding something correctly. You may interpret something he says more harshly than he means it (and it’s probably more likely that you will). When receiving criticism, it’s hard not to think the worst in the moment. Your mind will most likely go with the worst interpretation available. Repeating it in your words will give him a chance to correct any misperceptions you may have and “soften the blow” to your ego.
Yes, you read that right. You may not know there’s an issue if he hadn’t said something. Even if you don’t end up with him (not jinxing it or anything), he may be helping you become better for the next person. For that reason alone, be thankful that he helped you identify something you can improve upon. Although he may benefit from the change, ultimately the improvement is about YOU.
Open dialogue to express your own complaints
This does NOT mean try to be petty and say something you think will “cut him” because you feel attacked while he’s expressing his concerns. This just means receive your criticism and use the conversation as an opening for you to express your own concerns. Tread lightly on this because as stated before, it could come off as you being petty. Avoid being combative in your transition into your own concerns.
So, to some this may sound like instructions on how to be passive while your guy “attacks” your performance as a partner. If it still feels that way, your walls are STILL up (and stronger than ever might I add). Effectively responding to complaints is a part of good communication. Every relationship thrives off good communication. Receive the info and respond positively to build with your partner.