What's the Difference Between Constructive and Destructive Criticism in a Relationship?

Today we will talk about what is constructive and destructive criticism, what should be the attitude towards criticism, and how to react to criticism. Any person who is engaged in some sort of business, or someone who simply likes to voice their opinion, their position on any given issue, will surely be criticized to one degree or another. Moreover, the more their opinion or their position differs from what the majority does or thinks, the more criticism they will hear in their address.

constructive criticism examples

What should you do in this case and how to respond to criticism? What is the difference between constructive vs destructive criticism? How to handle constructive criticism?

What Is Constructive Criticism?

Let’s start off by saying that a lot depends on the attitude of a person to criticism. For some people, criticism acts as an incentive for self-development and progress, for others, on the contrary, it is a destabilizing factor. Attitudes toward criticism can greatly influence relationships with other people and not only with outsiders but also with relatives. And finally, there are many examples when a person suffered serious setbacks just because they did not want to react to criticism. And vice versa, when people abandoned promising and successful projects because they were criticized.

What does constructive criticism mean? Constructive criticism is an expression of one’s opinion for the purpose of providing assistance. In this case, a critic gives an assessment of your actions or your position, wanting to help you, bring some kind of benefit. Constructive criticism can be expressed in the form of objective analysis or in the form of some tips, recommendations for improvement.

Here are the main features by which you can determine that you are facing constructive criticism:

  • Objectivity. By expressing their opinion, a critic does not claim to know the absolute truth, they emphasize the fact that they are just expressing their personal opinion;
  • Concreteness. A critic points out specific details or the points they question, and they don’t think that everything is bad in what you do or did;
  • Argumentation. A person who criticizes gives concrete arguments, justifies their position, shows the basis of their criticism;
  • Examples from life. When criticizing, a person cites specific examples from their personal life (or lives of their friends and relatives), which confirm the course of their thoughts;
  • Knowledge of the matter. A critic is well versed in the issues that they criticize (for example, they have specialized education, experience, personal achievements);
  • No personal attacks. A person criticizes you while showing respect, they do not go as low as to attack you personally, they criticize your actions or beliefs;
  • Bringing up positive aspects. A critic points out not only the downsides but also the strengths of your work or your position.

Receiving constructive criticism allows you to see your shortcomings from an outside perspective and correct them. With a competent attitude, it can bring considerable benefits to any business. Constructive criticism in the workplace is the key to success.

Now that we know what constructive criticism is and we’ve mentioned some constructive criticism examples.

Constructive Criticism Vs Destructive Criticism

Constructive and destructive criticism are, needless to say, quite different.constructive vs destructive criticism

In fact, destructive criticism is the opposite of constructive criticism. It is the expression of your negative opinion aimlessly or for the purpose of hurting your interlocutor. In this case, a critic does not want to help the one whom they criticize, and they do it with some malicious intent.

  • Manipulative effect. A critic influences their opponent to incline them to any action favorable to them;
  • Envy. A person may be jealous of another person, and because of that, they try to look for flaws in their opponent and openly point at them;
  • A sense of self-importance. There are people who criticize for the sake of receiving pleasure from the process. This is also pure destructive criticism;
  • Unusual opinions, train of thought. If a person stands out from the crowd, thinks and does things not like the majority, then there will be great many who would want to criticize them only because they are not like them. Such criticism is also not constructive.
  • Bias. A critic clearly thinks that everything they say is an unconditional, 100% truth, which cannot be doubted;
  • Lack of specifics. Everything is being criticized, and common, vague wording is used, “Everything is bad,” “Everything is terrible,” “This is wrong,” “This is hopeless,” “This is trash,” and so on;
  • Prooflessness. Destructive criticism is not justified in any way, a critic does not give any sort of examples, they simply criticize everything;
  • Sticking to the smallest of things. A critic actively criticizes the most insignificant aspects that do not have any sort of special influence on the overall process of work or position;
  • Inappropriateness. A person constantly and actively imposes their criticism, on their own initiative, when no one asks for it, and even makes it clear that your opinion is not interesting;
  • Personal attacks. A critic expresses their opinion not about the actions and opinions of a person, but about a person themselves, and does it in a disrespectful form.

Destructive criticism does not carry any good but only bears harm. Its main goal is to harm a person, to force them to give up on what they do and to set them back for the sake of it. How to deal with destructive criticism? Learn to either ignore it or maybe even get something good out of it, by separating the emotional aspect of criticism from concrete information.

How to Give Constructive Criticism?

There are three elements that must be in harmony during constructive criticism. Each person hopes for something and dreams about something. You must mention that they are going to reach their goals if they just put a little bit more effort in their work. Any imbalance in this structure will lead to the fact that a person will either become unsure of themselves or too self-confident, and we don’t really know which is worse.

  • Find out what motivates a person. This is the first thing to think about.
  • Get rid of unnecessary criticism

A person can make a lot of mistakes, but there is no reason to barrage them with criticism. Tell them the most important things that are needed to achieve success. Not every portion of criticism is necessary and useful. And do not forget that you are advising, not scolding them.

  • Stay neutral: leave your emotions aside

No one is immune from being overwhelmed with emotions. You need to leave your biases and emotions aside and focus on the most important part, to give proper advice to a person.

You should never start a conversation if one of you is being aggressive.

How to Take Constructive Criticism?

Accepting constructive criticism may be hard, but it very important. If you do not know how to respond to criticism correctly, if you are happy to accept praise, and face any negative assessment with aggression, it will be difficult for you to succeed in anything. In this case, a piece of criticism will interfere with all of your endeavors, spoil your relationship with other people, make you an angry and irritable person. It is necessary to use constructive criticism for your own benefit and draw conclusions from destructive ones.constructive criticism in the workplace

You will be criticized in any case, even if you do everything perfectly. It can’t be avoided, so the main thing is to form a competent attitude towards criticism, to know and understand how to respond to criticism in any given situation.

The reaction towards criticism of a smart person must begin with determining the type of criticism, that is, whether it is constructive or destructive.

1. Do not lose self-esteem and faith in yourself. In no case, even the most constructive criticism should be the reason for the underestimation of one’s own self-esteem and loss of self-confidence.

2. Separate emotions from good advice and recommendations. Often, both constructive and destructive criticism can be more or less emotional. However, among all of the emotions, there can be really useful remarks, tips, and recommendations. When listening to criticism, immediately separate the emotional part of your interlocutor’s speech from the rational one. Focus on the latter.

3. Do not respond to criticism immediately. A response to criticism must be well-thought-out. Often, a person who is being criticized, especially - if they are being criticized emotionally and destructively, also falls under the power of emotions, responds in the same exact way, and criticism develops into a disagreement, and relationships deteriorate. Who benefits from this? Nobody. Therefore, it is better to listen to the criticism in silence, and if it requires an answer, take a pause to think about what you are going to say.

4. Use constructive criticism as an aid. Since constructive criticism is given with the aim of providing help, take advantage of this. That is, analyze and draw conclusions.

5. It’s impossible not to react to criticism at all. Even if you are facing a piece of destructive criticism, you need to understand what caused has it, perhaps some kind of significant threat is hanging over you, and this is only the beginning.

6. Do not take criticism to heart. At the same time, when thinking about how to respond to criticism, try to drop all the emotions aside. The fewer emotions there will be in your answer, the better.

7. A critic doesn’t matter, but their criticism does. It often happens that a person who is being criticized, first of all, tries to understand what caused such an interest, why are they trying to fix something. But the essence of the revealed shortcomings is much more important, especially if this is constructive criticism.

8. If different people criticize the same exact thing, this is a reason to think about it. It's one thing when one person sees a certain flaw in your work or opinion, their opinion may be subjective, but when different people talk about it, you should really look into your piece of work or opinion.

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