One Response to Survive and Thrive Under Criticism

how to respond to 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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How Excuses Reveal Hidden Relationship Problems

relationship excusesExcuses rarely make anyone feel better.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the frustration of hearing an excuse when you try to point out a problem to your boyfriend.

Sure, there are times when it’s perfectly valid to offer an excuse. I mean, come on…sometimes the traffic really was horrible. Or you legitimately didn’t have time to call.

But most of the time we make excuses to protect our egos. Rather than admitting we made a mistake, we justify poor choices.

That strategy just doesn’t work well in relationships. Because a pattern of excuses will drive a wedge between you and your partner faster than the Kardashians can spin family drama into a new reality show.

Relationship excuses erode trust.

Just like you, your guy can tell when he’s not getting the full story.

So, before you give your guy an excuse, ask yourself the following two questions.

  1. DO I SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD?
  2. IS THERE ANYTHING UNDERNEATH THIS EXCUSE?

Let me show you why these two questions will send your relationship in the right direction.

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How to Get a Guy to Like You FAST

How to Get a Guy to Like You FASTHow do you make a lasting impression when you only get 60 seconds?

That’s all the time it takes for people to start judging you. It’s an insanely short window.

Take Jessica as an example. She’s single and interested in meeting someone new. So she goes out, mingles, and tries to stay socially plugged in.

Recently, she was at a happy hour with some friends. They got into a conversation with some guys at the next table. They talked for a bit, and then the men moved on.

When you’re single, opportunities to meet someone can pop up and vanish just that quickly. You get a few minutes of conversation at most. That’s it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a typical social environment, like a bar, or somewhere else, like the gym, the breakroom at work, or even the grocery store. If you meet a guy you’d like to get to know better, you get one shot at a first impression.

How do you make it count?

There are several psychological hacks[i] you can use to make the most of those moments. These aren’t tricks or traps. I would never suggest that you deceive a guy you’re interested in.

Instead, these are ways to fast-track showing him the kind of person you are. And at the same time, you’ll get to find out what kind of person he is.

If you want to make the most of an opportunity for romance, the following three hacks will help nail that first impression.

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Why He’s Not Taking the Hint

how men and women are differentHave you ever tried to tell your guy something without actually telling him?

Maybe you wanted a specific gift for your birthday, but didn’t want to come right out and say it. Or you were stuck in an awkward social situation, and wanted him to bail you out. Or you might have been upset, thinking he could surely tell something was off.

Sometimes he picks up what you’re laying down. Other times, he’s blissfully unaware.

There’s actually a good reason why he may not catch your subtle clues.

The reason has nothing to do with whether or not he genuinely cares. It’s not a gauge of his commitment. It’s not even an accurate measure of whether or not he’s the sensitive type.

Nope, it’s genetic differences, pure and simple. It all comes down to the way his brain is wired.

That’s because the male brain is not like the female brain. There are differences in our chemistry, activity, structure, and even blood flow. So how he thinks is sometimes different from how you think.

And sometimes that difference will make it really hard for him to take a hint.

One of the epic differences between male brains and female brains is how we use grey and white matter.[i]

Grey matter is for super-charged focus. It gives you the ability to block out distractions and stay on task. Guys’ brains are naturally good at this, but it comes with a downside.

As one researcher put it, “Once [men] are deeply engaged in a task or game, they may not demonstrate much sensitivity to other people or their surroundings.”

White matter, on the other hand, is for networking. I’m not talking about LinkedIn or Facebook. I mean networking within your mind.

This is where women have an edge.

The different parts of your brain “talk” to each other using white matter. Like, for example, when you multi-task. White matter also helps you notice other stuff going on, even when you’re focused.

You can see the potential problem, right? He’s great at maintaining a single focus, but he may not be as perceptive as you.

All those super clear signals you’re sending? Yeah, he’s probably missing a lot of them.

So one of the best things you can do for your communication with your guy is to stop dropping hints. Instead, TALK to him.

Here are a couple of pointers for making your conversations as productive as possible.

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