At the moment, there's a very interesting discussion going on in the 'Positive Thinkers' Group on LinkedIn .
Someone raised the question as to whether criticism or praise (by way of compliments) is most memorable.
I wrote that whilst constructive criticism (which usually comes with useful advice) and genuine compliments (which are always accompanied by genuine enthusiasm) are worth taking notice of, and remembering, and learning from, empty compliments and carping criticism are something that one can afford to ignore.
Then I received an e-mail - out of the blue - that reminded me that sometimes criticism can be deliberately cruel and intentionally destructive, and that it can come from 'trusted' people when one feels weak and defenceless and surrounded by an ocean of problems.
I was the victim of such an attack many years ago. I haven't forgotten it - but I did learn something from it.
- I learned to look for and evaluate motives, and to mentally sort and file - or discard - both compliments and criticisms according to their real value.
- I learned that smiling and saying 'thank you' - whether the criticism or the compliment was well-intentioned or not - was the best thing to do, because genuine people appreciate it, and fakes realise that you aren't a push-over and tend to back off.
- File or discard
- Say 'thank you'
- Hang around, or
- Just walk away