How to Deal With a Girlfriend's Criticisms

Critical comments can be hurtful.
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Criticism can be particularly hard to take from someone you love and respect, like your girlfriend. A critical remark from her, whether about you, your behavior or your job, can hurt your feelings and put you on the defensive. However, learning to handle your girlfriend’s criticisms in a positive manner can benefit you.

1 Don't Be Defensive

While it can be difficult, try not to take your girlfriend’s critical remarks personally or get defensive. For instance, if your girlfriend says, “You never spend time with me,” consider her point of view, rather than getting defensive and arguing with her. Perhaps you’ve been busy and haven’t had as much time for her. Becoming defensive and denying the accusations, ignoring them, or fighting with her about them is only going to make the situation worse.

2 Delay Your Response

When your girlfriend makes a critical remark causing you to feel upset or angry, don’t respond right away. Make an effort to distract yourself from your hurt and to calm down, suggests Elly Prior, counselor and author of “Dealing With Criticism” on the website, Professional Counselling. If you respond while you are still emotional, you may say something that you will regret or escalate the situation. Breath deeply, count to 10 or resume your conversation the next day, suggests Gretchen Rubin, author of “6 Tips For Handling Criticism” on the PsychCentral website. It may also be helpful to go for a walk, take a hot shower or do something else you find soothing.

3 Accept Criticism

Learning to accept criticism is important. Critical comments with good intent can be a gift, says Prior. Consider what your girlfriend is saying and if she is trying to be helpful. For instance, you may not like to hear that the story you wrote isn’t very good, but your girlfriend’s critique could help to make it better.

4 Learn From It

Consider if there is truth in your girlfriend’s critical remarks and ask yourself what you can learn from her criticism, suggests Thomas Plante, a psychologist, and author of “Do Yourself a Favor… Learn From Criticism” on the Psychology Today website. For instance, if she says, “You’re always late,” consider if that is indeed true. If it is, admit it, and make an effort to be more reliable. Without critical feedback, you can’t improve yourself, says Plante.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.