The one thing I told myself to do was to remove myself from the equation so that I could leave my emotions behind during the call. And while I was able to achieve that and look at myself objectively, there's one more strategy I applied to take the pressure off.
I'm a strong proponent of being honest with others as that's what builds strong connections, but in order to be honest you have to be vulnerable.
(Sidenote, read any book by Brene Brown as she's the queen of vulnerability)
Which is why I immediately disarmed him (after the small talk) with vulnerability.
Instead of waiting for him to reprimand me, and to walk me through his e-mail (once again), I took control of the situation and said this:
"I wanted to thank you for the feedback, I had a good cry about it."
I said it in a playful tone so he wouldn't feel like I was attacking him. I just wanted to make sure I was the FIRST one to talk about it. Candidly.
I continued to say that it was well-deserved and that I understood completely.
Put yourself in his shoes. How would YOU react to that?
You'd pull back right? You wouldn't go on the offense when someone just admitted that they were hurt by something you said. No matter how ready you were to give it to them one more time.
This strategy works to calm all parties down because in case you haven't noticed, self-awareness is in short supply these days. If you're the one that acknowledges the situation as it is, instead of going on the defensive immediately, you take the tension away.
I could have given him 10 excuses, but that would have made him put up a wall and go on the offense. I wanted to avoid that.
So think about this the next time you have to face someone you don't want to because of what they might say.
This also works when you have social anxiety and you're worried that it's visible for the world to see. It probably is, so let the world know. Own up to it and be vulnerable. Not only will you feel more relaxed, but those who are around you will soften up.
Until next time!