One Response to Survive and Thrive Under Criticism

One Response to Survive and Thrive Under CriticismKaren thought it would bond them as a couple. A weekend workshop devoted to developing greater intimacy? Bring it on!

But on the afternoon of the second day, her world turned upside-down.

The topic was how to give feedback instead of criticism. The facilitator asked each couple to turn to one another and state the 3 things they most liked about the other person as well as the 3 things they most disliked.

Her heart was pounding as she told her boyfriend she’d go first. “What I like most about you is that you’re thoughtful, handsome, and loving.” She paused, trying to think of some gentle feedback that wouldn’t hurt his feelings.

“I wish you’d clean up after yourself more. I wish you’d be available more, rather than working so late. I also wish things were more romantic, like they used to be.”

He smiled and nodded warmly. She felt a rush of relief. This wouldn’t be so bad. “Okay, your turn,” she said.

“The three things I like most about you are that you’re beautiful, you’re warm and caring, and you make my life better.”

Karen’s heart soared. She grasped his hand tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“The three things I like least about you,” he continued, “are that you’re always getting after me for things in a way that doesn’t feel respectful. You have really high standards, which are great, but it makes our life stressful in a way it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes I don’t think you really see what you’re doing. You think you’re being positive when you’re actually bringing everyone down.”

What?

How could he say that? After that moment they’d just had?

Even worse, he was smiling, as if what he said had been kind rather than completely devastating.

Karen jerked back her hand. She scooted her chair away from him. Through the white noise ringing in her ears, she could hear him ask, “Honey, are you okay?”

But she wasn’t.

And she wasn’t sure if she’d ever be again.

In all relationships, there are some things better left unsaid.

Like what you really think of his crude best friend, or his parents’ Christmas gifts.

But giving and receiving feedback is essential to healthy relationships.

So I’m going to suggest one simple phrase for responding well.

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Get into His Heart by Learning Exactly How He Wants to Be Loved

Get into His Heart by Learning Exactly How He Wants to Be Loved“Love” means something different to everyone.

Discovering how your guy wants to be loved can help you connect. It’s like finding the key to his heart. You can tap into a deeper part of who he is.

Shower him with “his” type of love, and he’ll be hooked. I’m going to show you three ways to figure out the type of love your guy responds to best.

But first let’s quickly review the concept of “love languages.” It’s the idea that there are five basic ways to express your love.

Kind words. Physical affection. Acts of service. Gifts. Quality time.

Each of us has a preference for one of these “languages.”

If kind words really matter, you’ll feel closer to someone who thanks you. Who tells you they appreciate you. Who flatters you.

People who respond to acts of service might melt if you wash their car for them. Or bring them chicken noodle soup when they’re sick.

If physical affection is your thing, hugs can make you feel more connected. Or holding hands. Or a back rub.

Things show gift-lovers that you care. Birthday presents. Cards. Flowers. Takeout from their favorite restaurant.

Finally, those moved by quality time just want you around them. And can feel slighted when you don’t make time.

Basically, when someone “speaks our love language,” we feel loved. When they don’t, we’re left cold.

But here’s the problem with love languages. We tend to express love in the way we want it expressed to us.

That’s fine if you and the guy you like speak the same love language. Not so great if you don’t.

Let’s look at an example:

GWEN: I really wanted to thank you for coming over to jump my car yesterday.

BARRY: Sure thing. It was no big deal.

GWEN: But it was. You went out of your way for me. That means a lot.

BARRY: Well, I’m glad I could help.

GWEN: Most people wouldn’t have. You’re a really great guy, Barry.

BARRY: (joking) Stop, you’re embarrassing me.

GWEN: I mean it. I feel really lucky to have a friend like you.

BARRY: Okay, fine, I’ll let you buy me lunch today.

GWEN: Oh. Actually, I can’t today. Raincheck?

BARRY: (trying not to look disappointed) Sure, sure.

GWEN: You really are my hero though.

BARRY: Uh-huh. I should probably go.

GWEN: Oh, okay…

Gwen tries to show Barry his help mattered. By telling him. She’s effusive. Her words are incredibly nice. Glowing even.

It’s likely compliments like these would move her, but he mostly shrugs them off. For Barry, words clearly just don’t do it.

Based on his lunch request, Barry’s “language” is likely either gifts or quality time. But Gwen doesn’t see the importance of those things. So it’s a missed connection.

Speaking different love languages doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker though. You just have to learn his language. And then train yourself to express love in the way he needs.

There are three simple tricks you can use to discover his love language.

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Why You Should Hold Out for an Apology from Your Guy

Why You Should Hold Out for an Apology from Your GuyYou probably have at least one female friend who’s a bit too quick to forgive.

When her guy says something that hurts her feelings, she laughs it off. If he’s consistently late for dates, she just shrugs and says he’s got a busy schedule. She might even let big stuff go without a fuss. Stuff like flirting with other women right in front of her.

I suspect you have at least one friend like this because everyone does. We all know someone who holds in their feelings, rarely expressing anger even when it’s called for.

If you’re being nice, you’d say your friend is “long-suffering.” But really, she just lets the guy in her life get away with things he shouldn’t be getting away with.

It might be tempting to think she just has bad taste in men. But that’s not necessarily the case.

According to a recent study[i], people are more likely to repeat negative behaviors if forgiveness is offered immediately. The thinking goes like this: “If you’re not mad, it must not be a big deal, so I’ll keep doing it.”[ii]

In other words, we teach the people around us how we expect to be treated. And when you forgive others too quickly, you teach them it’s okay to treat you poorly.

If you don’t want to make the same mistake your long-suffering friend makes, it’s important to hold out for an apology when your guy screws up.

Here’s a three-step plan for doing that without looking like you’re just holding a grudge.

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How to Avoid Online Relationship Drama

How to Avoid Online Relationship DramaHave you had the uncomfortable experience of watching a social media train wreck?

I’ve seen more than a few, myself. In fact, just recently I came across an entire article about one.[i]

The girl was cheated on, so she told everyone what a two-timing jerk her guy was – on Facebook. She even tagged him in the post!

He replied, of course, and before long they were in an all-out post-breakup war right there on the internet. Classy, right?

Social media, like Facebook, has become a big part of our lives. It’s a shared conversation that never stops. For the most part, it’s a good thing that helps people stay connected.

And your relationship status is baked right into social media. It’s part of your default profile information. Which begs the question, how do you handle your relationship status, good or bad, online?

Answer: In ways that enrich, enable, and encourage your relationships.

Note that I said relationships, plural. Everyone in your social circle gets to see how you deal with romantic ups and downs online. Anyone who sees you acting like the star of your own reality TV show will think twice the next time they talk to you.

Whether you’re debating about changing your status from “single” to “in a relationship,” or wanting to let everyone know about a breakup, what you share on social media matters.

The following guidelines will help you avoid common social media pitfalls that tear relationships apart.

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