Monday, November 14, 2005

Don't wanna hear it

Like many people, I don't take criticism well. But I also have a difficult time with praise. I'm not sure if that makes me unusual.

When people criticize me, I hear it. I get very serious. I want whoever is speaking to me to know that I'm listening and taking their comments to heart. On the inside, I'm starting to withdraw into myself, starting to beating myself up about whatever I messed up. But on the outside, I am calm and attentive.

When people praise me, the opposite happens. I blush and look down or away, almost immediately forgeting what people have to say. As much as I want to know that I'm doing a good job, I have no idea how to take it when people tell me as much. It's odd, I know. I've had people coming up to me for the past few days telling me they heard I did a good job. (And I've heard the same from the people I worked closest with, who were in the best position to judge.) I duck my head and smile slightly, and then I try to change the subject. I don't know why I do this--it makes no sense.


Blogger liz said...

But that just means that not only are you:

*Great at your job
*Smart and funny
*a wonderful wife and mother (I love that AB!)
*possessing of a quick wit

You are also modest. So that makes you even better!!!

10:23 PM, November 14, 2005  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

Yes, what Liz said!

All you need to do is say, "Thank you." And if there's someone else to give additional credit to, that's fine too, e.g. "And X did a terrific job with his research / paralegal support / etc."

Not taking away from your credit, as in "Well, it was really all X, I didn't do much," which is overmodest. But saying "Thank you" and then crediting someone else for their part in it is modest and gracious.

10:19 AM, November 15, 2005  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

I didn't finish my comment, sorry -- is modest and gracious and a good way to change the subject slightly (since it sounds like you're a little embarrassed to be getting praise) but not too much.

10:20 AM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

I understand being shy about the praise even though it is wonderful to hear it. You are too modest! Genevieve's suggestion is a good one, just a simple thank you and then change the subject. That way, people will feel as if you are acknowledging their kind praise and you can avoid the prolonged attention.

Congratulations on all the praise! Now others know what we know, that you are FABULOUS!

10:27 AM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Yankee T said...

Yeah, y'know, APL, we have all known how terrific you are since we "met" you...maybe we don't tell you enough-then you could get used to it!
You're terrific!

1:39 PM, November 15, 2005  
Anonymous KathyR said...

I say we all just heap praise on APL until she can't help but acknowledge her total righteousness.

APL, you're smart, funny and way cooler than me!

4:48 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

OK, stand there and take this:

You are smart
You are funny
You are a great mom
You are a fantastic blogger

Nod at me. "Believe me now or believe me latah. I'm going to up!"

6:53 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

I appreciate that, you guys, but seriously: I don't fish for compliments, and this post was definitely not intended to do that. Which is not to say that I don't want people to like me. I do--I want them to think I'm funny and smart and cool and pretty much all-around fabulous. But I really don't want to hear it.

7:34 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Jessica said...

I have to agree with you on the praise thing. I'm trying to learn to say thank you and let it go, but its so hard isn't it?

I'm worse at criticism. I turn into a stuttering mess. I don't get angry, more like embarrassed. Need to learn to let that go.

8:43 PM, November 15, 2005  
Blogger Dennis! said...

I agree with you on the praise thing. For me, it comes from a place of inadequate self-esteem, I think: I don't accept compliments well because part of me is always telling me I'm not as good the compliments would have believe. It's a sad state of affairs, but on the plus side (silver lining), inability to accept compliments means that one is always striving to better him/herself even when others think s/he's pretty good to begin with.

12:52 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Musey_Me said...

I have this problem too. What's weird for me is that I think I am actually okay at my job, but still don't have any clue how to respond when I am praised - other than to blush and look at the floor - or, when appropriate, to point out that it's my fabulous grad students who really deserve the praise. I am equally awkward in other situations as well.

4:49 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Welcome to the blog, Dennis.

Glad to know that others of you have this same issue with praise. It's hard to reconcile it with the fact that I actually think pretty highly of myself, but there it is. :-)

10:21 PM, November 16, 2005  
Blogger kmsqrd said...

Yep, you're not alone in that shyness about hearing praise. Usually, if the person continues on long enough I have to tell the inner monologue documenting all the 'thanks, but you didn't see...' responses to shut up.

1:22 PM, November 22, 2005  

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