I knew this was coming; it was bound to happen. After two years of writing, the moment I had been waiting for finally occurred. Someone verbally confronted me about something I wrote.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the above part was partially a half-joke. First of all, it was not nearly as dramatic as I anticipated, nor was it a bad thing. I have been in little disputes hundreds of times, from my thoughts on an album, to spats with professors over the fact that Wikipedia can (sometimes) be a legitimate source (and I stand by that). The fact is, this was different because I was not expecting someone to directly confront me about several negative comments I recently wrote on my website about a particularly anticipated record. It was awesome.
First, a short disclaimer: fighting is not awesome and I am certainly not encouraging it. While the satisfaction from winning an argument can admittedly be human nature, having a proper discussion with others regarding your opinions and beliefs should be an important skillset for any young adult. It can be healthy to experience this, and more often than not, you may come away with a separate perspective not realized until after the discussion.
The best way to deal with (polite) criticisms are to take them as such; as long as someone is not directly attacking you or your work, treat it as a friendly discussion, even if it doesn’t feel quite “friendly.” Do not interrupt someone while they are expressing themselves; allow them to get it all out in order for you to properly respond to each of the points they make.
Whether it’s a decision you’ve made or a piece that you’ve created, there is bound to be someone with different tastes than you. Hearing constructive criticism in the right manner can keep a person humble, and I always find it important to remain open to other ideas or suggestions, not only as an artist and a writer, but as a person as well. At the same time, one should always feel proud of their accomplishments and stick to their convictions, so perhaps with time and experience comes finding that middle-ground of knowing how to respond professionally while standing our ground.
I wouldn’t call upsetting people a talent, but I suppose if your work is so strong that it’s evoking any kind of reaction, it’s at least giving your readers something to talk about– and when that discussion gets heated, it’s important to stay cool.