Dear Bonnie,

I am a new golfer, and while I am slowly learning all the rules and etiquette of the game, there are some moments when other players correct my honest mistakes that make me want to quit the game and never look back. Recently, I was entering my score on the scorecard in the golf cart after our group finished putting. I didn’t realize that I should have waited until we had driven to the next tee box to make way for the foursome behind us. There is a particular player in my group who corrected me, and though I appreciated the information, the way I was told made me feel so stupid and embarrassed it negatively affected me the rest of the day. Do you have any suggestions on how to respond to someone who corrects me in a harsh manner and have more confidence in my game as I continue learning?

My initial advice is to just say, “Thank you. I didn’t know that,” and move on. Whenever you are learning something new, you will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. It’s part of the learning process. The key to remaining unruffled is to become comfortable with making mistakes, calmly accepting the new information being delivered and avoid letting the method of delivery take priority in your mind.

You can become comfortable with making mistakes by genuinely believing mistakes are part of the normal human experience and even productive when learning a new skill. There is nothing to feel stupid or embarrassed about.

Reacting less emotionally in response to another person’s communication skills is based entirely on your own thoughts and is under your control. You may think the person is harsh and belittling, a thought which creates your own feelings of embarrassment. Another player may think the same person is just being blunt and to the point, which may create neither a positive nor negative feeling for them.

When you encounter a person who you perceive has a negative, possibly rude, communication style, practice changing your thoughts. A new thought, such as, “That’s curious. I wonder why she acts like that?” will produce a far different feeling for you than thinking, “She’s embarrassing me.”

Don’t give it a second thought, however, because you’ll immediately want to get back to focusing your thoughts on your game, not her, and move on with confidence.