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“Just give it to me straight.”

When it comes to critical feedback, we tend to think the hard part is asking for it. But it’s just as hard to be the one to dish it out.

We humans are hardwired to avoid conflict. And when asked to be critical, we tend to soften the truth. Complete honesty feels risky.

So how do we get honest feedback from people we care about?

First, we build trust. When we receive feedback we don’t like, we accept it as a gift.

Thank you for your openness, I appreciate you letting me know.

This doesn’t mean we have to agree. But we should be grateful for bitter feedback and consider it thoughtfully. (Note that the harder it is to hear, the more likely we need to hear it.)

On the other hand, if we get defensive when somebody gives us what we asked them for, we’ve likely burned that bridge forever.