Assertiveness Training - Handling Criticism Assertively

Dr. Purushothaman
October 1, 2013

Many of us have found it challenging to contend with criticism assertively in the past, however, if you're equipped with the appropriate assertiveness techniques it gets a lot less difficult to deal with.

Criticism in itself isn't actually destructive, since it may contain good suggestions that we are able to learn and improve from. However, in some cases criticism may be negative in cases where it's untrue or when it is presented negatively.

3 Assertiveness Techniques To Deal With Criticism

Typically, the majority of people don't handle criticism positively. They tend to get upset and aggressive towards the individual criticizing them or they just withdraw. Regardless, these aren't good reactions to criticism.

Here are several helpful assertiveness techniques to contend with criticism:

1. Negative Inquiry

Negative inquiry consists of discreetly contending against the criticism by questioning it. For example:

Criticism: “You aren't performing your work adequately.”
Response: “In what manner do you think I am not performing my work well?”

By employing negative inquiry, you can define a vague criticism and change it into something straightforward that you get to either accept and develop from or just not accept.

2. Fogging

Fogging means finding a small aspect of the criticism that you accept and leveraging it as a starting point to fight your corner. For instance:

Criticism: “You are without a job, and you're utterly squandering your life."
Reply: “It's true, I’m unemployed, but…”

By making use of the fogging technique, you lower the strength of the criticism and provide yourself the ability to provide an alternative explanation.

3. Disagreement

Ultimately, if there is basically nothing good that you can take away from the criticism, or if it is totally inaccurate, it's your prerogative to not accept it. A shrewd technique to not accept a criticism while not being thought of as aggressive is to disagree with its premise. E.g.:

Criticism: “You rarely do a single thing at home, you basically sit in front of the television all night.”
Reply: “That is far from the truth. It might look like I watch television the majority of the night but I help out a great deal at home also, like removing the garbage, maintaining the garden and cleaning the dishes.”

The Final Word On Handling Criticism Assertively

Ultimately, keep in mind that you do not have to take any criticism if you don't choose to, particularly when it's detrimental and is from a person who doesn't have your best interests in mind.
About the Author

For more effective assertiveness techniques to deal with criticism assertively, be sure to visit In addition, you can read my latest blog post, handling aggressive people at work by just clicking the link.

Article Source:

Read Related Recent Articles