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5 ways to stop getting defensive and communicate better

Published on:31 March 2021, 16:15pm IST
If you’re someone who gets defensive at the drop of a hat, make sure to go through these five amazing tips that’ll help you tackle the situation better.
Geetika Sachdev
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Being defensive can clip your growth. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Humans are a little complex, but we all know that, don’t we? We love getting showered with compliments, but the moment someone criticises us, there goes our dignity. Even the most calm people bare their fangs, when subjected to any kind of criticism. But why so? That’s because being defensive helps us protect our character. So, every time someone says something negative to us, it feels like a personal attack. 

But ladies, here’s something you must remember! Yes, the other person could be harsh, but you can always walk up to him/her and express your feelings. On the other hand, you might “hate” someone for pointing out your mistakes, but they could be right. Criticism must not be taken in a harsh manner—sometimes, it could also be constructive and help you grow. 

Also, if you are in the habit of getting defensive with friends, family, your boss and even your partner—then it’s most likely that they will distance themselves from you. 

So, are you looking to tackle your defensive nature? Fret not, we have the perfect solution for you. 

Here are five ways to help you stop getting defensive
1. Focus on your deepest values

It’s a simple tip, but very effective! So, in case your boss criticises your work today, it doesn’t mean you’re bad at what you do, and need to defend yourself by talking about all your achievements. What it really means is that maybe today’s not your best daythat’s all! So, think about your deepest values and what you are as a person, before jumping the gun and getting defensive about what others say to you.

2. Criticism doesn’t necessarily have to be negative

What if we told you that criticism can also be constructive, and help you grow as a person? Yes, ladies! It means whoever is criticising you believes in you and has high expectations from you, and is just offering his/her feedback to help you get better. Now, how does that sound? So, the next time your colleague, close friend, and boss say something to you, remember they have your best interests at heart.

3. Being defensive shows that you have low self-esteem

When you defend yourself every single time, it is a clear indication that you’re suffering from low self-esteem. You might trash talk about the person who criticised you or drown yourself in alcohol or junk food to feel better after a bad day, but this is only a temporary solution. You need to work on your self-esteem and cultivate a growth mindset. It’s not that you need to overlook rude or insulting remarks, but when someone spends time and energy to give you feedback, they actually care for you. Remember that and use your time to grow! 

getting defensive
Be in charge of your emotional well-being in 2021. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
4. Buy some time

Sometimes, it can be instinctive to react and become defensive. Now, if that sounds like you, it’s better to buy some time. When another person is criticising you, ask him/her to go on, and reflect on what they’re saying before you react. Do not get overpowered by the adrenaline surge. You can also choose to be silent, while the other person gives their feedback. This again gives you more time, and we think it’s a win-win! 

5. Use statements starting with “I”

You might not like what the other person has said, and that’s okay! But instead of charging at a person, use “I” to express what you’re feeling. That means you’re expressing your opinion, without getting defensive in any way. You can always say, “I am not comfortable with this”, or “It’s hard for me to have a conversation, when someone else has a raised voice.”

So ladies, it is hard but not impossible to get over a defensive attitude!.

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.