What to do? What to do?
What am I talking about? What am I contemplating? Well, a lot of times, I have friends who ask me to critique work that they have done. Primarily, people ask me to look over their website and critique it. Basically, what does critique mean? Well me it means to take a critical look at the work and offer tips or suggestions on how to improve parts of the work that are in need of more attention. In other words, you must be critical of the work.
Problem is, even though who ask for a critique often don’t take the “critical” part very well. In fact, when you come back and offer your analysis of the work, if you point out anything negative about the work, often you offend the person. But, honestly, giving the critique should point out the weaknesses, because that is what you have to do to help your friend improve on what he has already done. You are not trying to put down on the person who did the work, you are trying to help them make it better.
So, it makes me wonder, are they looking for a critique, or are they really trying to get you to look at their work and tell them how good it is? Maybe they aren’t looking for suggestions on how to improve the work, rather they are looking for praise for a “job well done,” but were afraid to phrase it that way.
I know that I am nearly always wary of offering a critique, even when I have been asked to do so. This is especially true if the person who is asking for my critique is a good friend, or family. I mean, I would hate to loose a friendship or a family relationship over a critique that I was asked to give. Then again, I don’t want to lie to the person when I honestly see areas that need improvement. Honestly, when I give a critique, I want to help the person do better, just as I would expect them to do if I asked them to critique my work.
So, what do you think? Do you critique work for friends, family and associates? Do you give an honest evaluation, or do you sugar coat what you say and just point out the good stuff. If you only point out the good stuff, is that really a critique? Is it fair? To me, I don’t think it is. Either one.