Simple Strategy for Dealing with Put-Downs*


When you are criticized with a put down, how should you react?

  • Keep your sense of humor up
  • Keep your defenses down

This will let the other person know you have a positive attitude about who you are and what you do.

If you are defensive, they know they hit a sensitive spot.

If you don’t take the put down too seriously and even be able to laugh at yourself, you will appear self-confident.


Instead of a defensive comment, return with an open ended question to encourage the other person to tell you what’s really bothering them!

  • “Why do you feel that way?”
  • “What is it that seems to be bothering you?”
  • “What is it that you do not like about____?”
  • “What can I do to make you feel more positive about what I am doing?”
  • “I don’t understand. What is it about ____ that is bad?”


* -from “How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends” (1983) by Don Gabor


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Challen Yee

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