Friday, September 21, 2018

How Do You Respond To Negative Feedback?

Credit: family
Ignore angry outbursts

One simple but strong word springs to mind as a response to this question: I DON’T.

I have finally become smart enough to understand that the best response to angry comments is silence.


I can repeat or clarify a misunderstanding. I can attempt to reconcile opposing viewpoints but usually someone who is closed to any other opinion is the person to write a negative response. If they refuse to engage in positive dialogue, I don’t bother bashing my head against the wall.

Often an angry person wants to engage in a verbal fight. In fact he is purposefully antagonizing me. After living with teenagers, my husband and I quickly learned how to diffuse angry confrontations because they were unproductive. Angry feedback always reminds me of teenage outbursts. Here is a typical encounter at our house a few years ago.

One of my sons , in his early teens, had just announced that he could not stand living under our roof another minute,

“I’m out of here!”, he bellowed, “and don’t expect me to come back!”

The door slammed and he tore off on his ten speed bike. Of course my father was visiting and witnessed this dramatic episode. After a few minutes, my dad turned to my husband and wondered,

”Aren't you going to go after him?”

Michael calmly kept reading, then looked up and explained,
“Oh, I’m not worried. The only place near enough to bike to is one of his buddy’s and they don’t feed kids over there. He’ll be back when he is hungry enough.”

No need to over-react. No need to lecture or argue. Just let nature take its course.

Most importantly. Do not take angry reactions personally. I would be in a mental health hospital if I took to heart every insult my teenagers hurled at me. Most negative feedback says more about the person commenting and his own emotions and reactions than it does about my me or my opinions.

I ask myself, "Why is the respondent angry?"

He is not really critiquing my writing style, content or conclusions, especially if a vehement response attacks me the writer. That is just the release valve which is handy at the moment. My words triggered a dramatic attack because the commentator has issues. Issues that lay buried until some unsuspecting scapegoat like me pushes his buttons. I refuse to play those games.

Silence is often a better teacher than any ‘wisdom’ I could spout.

About the Writer

My husband and I raised 9 children on a hobby farm and discovered fulfilment and joy.The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. My writing is humourous and heart warming/ thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it.
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7 comments on How Do You Respond To Negative Feedback?

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By HomeRearedChef on November 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I like your view, Melanie. So how do we respond? We just don't. I agree! When someone has left their strong opinion on my post (and not a very nice one), I will simply tell them that I thank them for having stated their opinion. I will not be lured into nagative discussion.

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By Randy Mitchell on November 15, 2012 at 01:55 pm

I almost always respond to negative crticicism, to a point. But, when it begins getting out of hand, that's when I ignore. Sometimes, it's better not to feed into another persons negativity, because that's really all some want. Good article.

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By melanie jean juneau on November 15, 2012 at 02:21 pm

Yes, if it is reasonable criticism, respond. If not, I refuse to play games

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By Shane Joseph on November 15, 2012 at 06:54 pm

a negative reaction shows that you were able to get under the skin of a reader and only accomplished writers do that. i once read a tragic story about the brutal killing of a dog, based on a true incident and one of the audience members threw up. she said she would never read my stories again and i thanked her

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By melanie jean juneau on November 15, 2012 at 07:33 pm

Well ,that is a completly different perspective-I LIKE it

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By Uttam Gill on November 15, 2012 at 11:11 pm

When you are angry mouth work faster, then your mind...It is best to ignore negative arguments...but yes discussion can take place as long as it is within the basic norms of decency...

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By melanie jean juneau on November 15, 2012 at 11:39 pm

love that phrase-" when your angry mouth works faster than your mind"

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