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How Negative Feedback And Nosy People Can Help Improve Self-Confidence

How do you respond to negative feedback, criticism, and nosy people? Most of us, and most times, you probably want to tell them where to go. Although, it's a bit tougher when it's your boss, employee, coworker, customer, relative or a friend. So you resort to biting your tongue, ignoring them, or changing the subject.


Managing negative feedback and nosy people is a great professional skill to have and will improve self-confidence. It's also highly recommended for reducing stress in your personal life.


How to Prepare for Dealing With Negative Feedback and Nosy People.

  1. Keep yourself from allowing past experiences to predict how the conversation will go. People change every moment—even slightly—and learn something new within those moments. Realistically, you can’t expect the same conversation to go in the same direction every time. But be aware of what triggers your past experience. If you can identify that trigger (a place, a word, a tone, or a look), that awareness helps you to change the direction of the conversation.

  2. Don't let assumptions ruin that chance of getting valuable feedback. This is how you allow the negative thoughts to create a story that isn’t true. Assumptions can put you on the defensive and then you won't get any value from the feedback. So you need to ask yourself if this thought is fabricated, or is it true.

  3. Practice being present in that moment, and focus on problem solving. When you’re focused on solving a problem, emotion sits on the back burner, and logic kicks in. This allows you to look at the underlying issue and resolve that, instead of dealing with emotions that hijack the conversation. People love to solve problems, it gives you this power and confidence that you’re contributing, and are important in this equation.

Being in this frame of mind helps you to remain calm and focused. And when your mind and body language are more inviting and engaging, the other person becomes relaxed and receptive.


How this Valuable Feedback Can Improve You Relationship


In that moment when someone complains to you, especially directly in front of you, the first thoughts are of a defensive nature. Even if your words indicate you want to help, your body language will communicate otherwise. You have to change your perception of what feedback is.


When someone provides negative feedback this is a sign that they noticed something isn’t working. They have the expectation or belief that this should go one way, and it didn’t. What they want YOU to do, is acknowledge that their beliefs are important, and you’ll do something about it, because of them.


When you’re face to face with a situation like this, the person is emotionally charged and sometimes can be a bit hostile. To disarm them, you need to know what their expectations were before they became dissatisfied. This is very powerful, since it shows that you’re interested in their perspective and beliefs, and want to understand them.


People need to feel listened to and important. The reason why people make more noise, is because they’re not experiencing this feeling.


Now, understanding them doesn’t mean agreeing with them. But within that dissatisfaction or expectation, you can discover something that you aren’t seeing and use that information to better your communication with customers, or your relationship with other people in your life.


How You Can be More Open to Criticism


If you’re feeling challenged to be open to criticism, ask yourself:

What’s getting in my way that doesn’t allow me to see this possibility?

Many times we take feedback personally, when we shouldn’t.


There's great value in receiving feedback. Many won’t say anything when dissatisfied and will walk away and tell others instead of the person who can correct the situation. You’re left with pondering why you’re experiencing this friction in your life.


Create a space were feedback is appreciated. When they learn that you’re receptive they’ll come to you sooner and be more civilized in the conversation, because their negative emotions haven't escalated.


How to Respond to Negative or Positive Feedback and Improve Self-Confidence


When receiving feedback simply responding with “Thank you, I appreciate your honesty,” will make the other person comfortable providing it. If you respond with a defensive answer or body language, they’ll be less willing to help the next time.


Feedback comes loaded with the other person’s experience, fears, and beliefs. Understanding this and learning how to manage this information will improve self-confidence when handling sticky situations.


This doesn’t mean their feedback will be valuable. But it’ll get you thinking, and decide if you can use it, or discard it.


Examples of What to Say to Nosy People


When someone is too nosy, be open with them about protecting your privacy. Here’s a few responses you can use:

“I would like to keep that to myself for now, thank you for your concern.” “Down the road I may want your feedback, but for now I have a few things to figure out for myself.” “If I was to answer that question, what would you do with that information?” “I love your curiosity! What is it about this that concerns you?”

How to Respond to Someone Who is Rude

When someone is rude to you, ask them:

“How would you like me to respond to that?” “What is it that you hope to gain from that comment?”

How Accepting A Compliment Shows You're Confident


Before I finish, I want to offer you one last tip for showing your confidence through communication. It’s how to respond to compliments.


Many have this habit of not allowing themselves the luxury of receiving a genuine compliment, and end up responding with something like: “oh, this old thing,”or “It was really nothing,” or “I can’t take credit for that.”


When you discount the compliment you communicate to the giver that they have bad judgment; that they got it wrong; or that they have no taste. You do this because you’re sympathetic to other people’s fears. You downplay your success so others will feel good about themselves. This is a habit you’ve held onto over the years.


Instead, you should be proud of your success and feel good about it! So get in the habit of starting with a smile and simply saying, “thank you, I appreciate your compliment.”

Please leave a comment or share this with others who would find it useful.


Christine Hourd, ACC is a certified professional success and leadership life coach in Calgary, Alberta. She works with clients, in-person and online, to remove obstacles and create strategies to overcome conflict and difficult people. Talk to Christine and find out how the Success Mastery Program can help you reach your goals.

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