Dealing With Negative Criticism

angrymobAs freelancers, we do everything we can to get our names out there. Whether it’s writing blog posts, twittering, using other social media, or just dealing with clients, we try to be everywhere on the web.

Unfortunately, the more you put yourself out there, the more you open yourself up to those people. You know who they are–the ones who disagree with you and aren’t afraid to point that out, the ones who hate your work, writing and thoughts.

While not the same as outright rejection, negative criticism can be just as upsetting and hurtful. So how do we deal with it while staying professional and cool headed? Here are some tips from someone who’s also received lots of criticism in her freelancing career.

Six Tips to Help You Deal with Critics

Here are six tips to help you deal with criticism:

  • Don’t take it personally.
    The person may disagree with your work or what you said, but that doesn’t mean they’re attacking you personally.
  • Calm down
    Take a deep breath.¬†Even if the person is being unfair or just trying to pick a fight, keep your calm. Fighting with the person will not only result in you losing work if it’s a client, but will also ruin your reputation and make you look like the bad guy.
  • Could they be right?
    Try to see the criticism objectively. Can you turn it into something good? What would happen if you tried to follow their advice? If the criticism comes from an industry expert, try following it to see if it would make you better at what you do.
  • Could you be wrong?
    If you’re dealing with a client, could you be in the wrong? Having an angry client is definitely not going to be something you want to deal with. Is it worth fighting about and losing their business? Make sure you listen to their criticism very carefully, they could be right and you could learn something.
  • What if you’re right?
    Is it worth arguing about and wasting valuable time you could be spending working? Would it make you seem petty or immature if you do argue it? If so, it may be better to just move on. If you firmly believe it’s worth addressing, calm down first and remember to behave professionally. Explain your methodology and why you believe it to be correct. Don’t shout or call names. Most people actually enjoy hearing others’ point of views, so don’t be afraid to express yours.
  • Shrug it off
    If all else fails, shrug it off. Not everyone is going to agree with what you say or do, nor should they. If it’s not something you can learn from, or just from an internet bully, ignore it and move on. You’ll probably never see or hear from them again anyways, so there’s no point in worrying about what they think, or wasting your day trying to change it.

It’s tough dealing with criticism. It’s even tougher when you know you’re right. Personally, I’m the kind of person who’ll fight with you all day to prove my point, so I have to remind myself that I’ve got plenty of client work I should be doing instead.

But, don’t let that spoil your freelancing spirit. Just remember that you’re awesome at what you do, otherwise you’d have no clients! So don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. There’s enough room in the internet world for everyone’s opinions, so take a deep breath, smile and move on!

Your Thoughts

Have you had to deal with negative criticism? How did you do it?

Image by Robert Couse-Baker