3 Ways to Ensure Your Corrective Criticism is Not Nagging

If you have ever been in a committed relationship, then you know what it is like to clash with your significant other. As quarantine continues, you may even be discovering new ways to rub each other the wrong way. Perhaps it’s the way they load the dish washer, fold the clothes, or snore at night. Whatever the case, you may feel it is necessary to clue them in on the many ways they are currently annoying you. The trick is to air out your frustration in a way that builds the bonds between you rather than tears them down.

What is Constructive Criticism?

What’s the difference between corrective criticism, and how does if differ from nagging?The line in the sand is subjective to the person on the receiving in. Having said that, the difference essentially comes down to how you want to make your partner feel. Chances are, if you want your partner to feel good rather than hurt after the exchange, it will be evident in your wording and delivery. And lest you try to let yourself off the hook by telling yourself the difference doesn’t matter, allow me to reassure that the difference between the two is vital because nagging is often viewed as demeaning, hurtful, and disrespectful. All of which can be damaging to the other person’s health.

In fact, a study published in Health Psychology, reports that living with an overly critical partner can shorten your lifespan. Living in fear of being told, “You’re doing that all wrong,” puts unnecessary stress on your cardiovascular system, which places your longevity at risk.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

3 keys to distinguishing What is constructive and what is nagging

1.) Gauge Whether Your Feedback is Wanted

Chances are, if your feedback is not wanted, it won’t be received well. If your partner is not open to hearing your thoughts and feeling, you can scream until you’re blue in the face, but it will not result in positive change. A trick to find out if your partner is open to hearing your feedback is to ask, “Would you like some constructive feedback?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you know you have a teachable person on your hands. If the answer is ‘no,’ it is probably best to keep your mouth shut until a better time.

2.) Choose Your Words Carefully

The main phrase you should stay far away from is, “You’re doing it wrong!” As soon as that terminology leaves your mouth, it becomes a turf war on who is right and who is wrong. A better verbiage is, “I prefer.” By using ‘prefer’ you’re opening up the issue in question for discussion. This approach provides the opportunity for each of you to explain your reasoning instead of being automatically dismissed. Once both viewpoints are expressed, a decision can be made.

3.) Acknowledge When There is a Deeper Issue

Some people are more sensitive to criticism than others. As one of these soft-skinned people, I speak from experience. Therefore, it is important to consider how your partner responds to criticism and recognize if they are super-sensitive. There may be a deeper issues that you do not know about.


Well + Good

 Emily Laurence

Aug 20, 2020


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