Criticism or ‘well-meaning’ remarks can deflate your fun during the festive season. Whether it is work, friends or family no-one wants their festive bubble popped by some sly remark. Teasing, gentle jibes, clever repertoire may be funny for some, for others it is plain bullying. Handling this without causing all the Xmas lights to suddenly fuse has escaped many.
Choosing the right words in quick time is not always forthcoming. Once the remarks have struck their blow, we begin imagining how we might have answered. Unfortunately all those clever answers arrive the next day and we are still festering, rather than being festive.
Firstly know this. People who hurt are hurt people. Criticising is a way to elevate oneself by diminishing others. And why do that? Knowing critical people reserve the most criticism for themselves can aid us in handling them better. We can see them for what they really are, perhaps with a feeling of compassion?
Secondly, as Marisa Peer teaches in her confidence course, you get to decide if what has been said is true. So if someone is saying “You really shouldn’t be wearing jeans at your age.” Reply with, “Thank you for sharing that. I’m not going to let that in.” And don’t. Remember you get to choose whether it is true or not, not them.
Thirdly by them knowing you have cottoned on to their insensitive ways put a stop to it. I had to socialise with a particular lady for many years. It always left me feeling uncomfortable and I didn’t recognise why. I put up with her light teasing and didn’t think too much about the quiet put downs. Then one warm summers evening before it started to sizzle, after the third jibe of the evening, looking up I held her gaze and said nothing. Mentally I was saying ‘I am recognising what you are doing and I’ll no longer tolerate it’. Strangely, I’ve hardly seen her since. When I have, she has been very polite.
Lastly, ways to get them backing off without the festive gathering coming to a stand still.
Criticism and Examples of How to Handle Nasty Remarks
Examples: “You look healthy.” reply, “I didn’t get that can you say it again?” And they won’t because they won’t like you standing up to them. But if they do, simply say, “I’m not going to let that in.” And don’t. Or, if someone says “I saw you in that play last week and even I would’ve played the part better than you.”
Reply with, “Why are you telling me that, are you trying to hurt my feelings? Or if a work colleague remarks, “I don’t know you managed to get the managers job. Reply with “I don’t understand why you are telling me that.” Nine times out of ten they will stop in their tracks. Try it and notice how good you feel dealing with the criticism there and then. It puts the onus back on them to explain themselves. And no critic likes that. So no more festering and a little more festivities please.