Guest post by Nicholas Cardot.
Alright. You’ve been there. You know. When your friend turns to you and asks for your opinion about something they’ve just built, designed or created.
You look at their creation and you wonder if they actually did it or if they unleashed a five-year-old on their supplies and what you’re looking at is the results.
You ask yourself, ‘Do they want me to be honest or do they want to feel good.’ It’s a tricky question.
I’m in the Army. When I have something wrong, my Sergeant looks at me and says, “Hey Cardot! You screwed up. You’re an idiot. Go fix that.”
I smile and reply, “Roger Sergeant.” And I move out and fix the issue. I don’t get upset. That’s how we’re trained. But outside of the Army, people aren’t like that. You have to approach them differently.
Well let’s say that you decide to be honest. You think that that whatever they’re doing is absolutely hideous and you’re afraid that others are going to think it also. You don’t want them to look bad in front of others so you decide to take the plunge and let them know that they are all messed up.
Here’s how to do it
1. Relate. It’s always comforting to someone who’s messed up to know that someone else did also. Try sharing your comments with something like, “You know I used to do that exact same thing…”
2. Reinforce. If you focus on someone’s bad skills you’re going to make them feel pretty worthless. Be sure to include your praise for what you do like about them or their project. Don’t be all negative.
3. Assure. Make sure that your friend understands that you’re trying to help them. Go out of your way to make it clear that you have their best interests in mind. If not, you’re only going to end up alienating them from being your friend. You don’t want that.
4. Don’t Insist. If your friend suggests that they don’t agree with you, that they don’t want to hear it, or that it’s none of your business…then back off. Don’t throw your friendship away over something that may not really matter.
In the end remember the old adage, “Unasked for advice is seldom heeded and often resented.” If they don’t ask for your advice then don’t offer it up. It will probably only offend them.
How do you share the ugly truth with someone?
Gently and with the best intentions. Make sure you encourage them and assure them that you’re only saying it because they are your friend.
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Photo Credit: Joseph Gray.