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How to criticize positively

Updated on July 14, 2015

Offering Positive Criticism

All of us would love to get positive and encouraging comments from our real life friends as well as online friends, and we feel good about it. It may be about anything about our day to day life in our real world or our virtual world. No one would be happy to get a negative criticism directly or from some one known to you or some unknown person, on your articles/hubs which you have taken so much trouble to present it. It doesn't mean that whatever you wrote is worth reading, and everyone should love your writing. Each reader looks at your work with a unique eye and forms his/her own opinion. Some may express it in the comment form, and some others may not bother to leave a negative or positive comment. Some times even if your friend doesn't like your work still write a positive comment just to please you, or not to lose your friendship. Sadly, such things won't help you in your improvement.


A negative feedback is helpful

Actually, a negative criticism is helpful for our improvement. Otherwise we may think that what we did is perfectly alright, which leaves us no scope for improvement. If someone points out the negative side of our work, at first we may feel little upset, but it will definitely help us improve our standard. We can study from those negative comments and see that they are not repeated in our next work.

Sometimes we may not like to post a negative comment received on our hub. In such a case, learn about the feed back you received and take the negative comment with a positive attitude, to improve your future work, and delete the comment, so that others won't see it.

How to leave a negative feed back

If we have to leave a negative comment we must make sure that our words won't hurt the writer's feelings. At the same time, we want to express about what we felt, probably negative, so that the writer can get benefit from the honest feedback which you wouldn't have thought, and in return, the writer may thank you directly or secretly. The following story may be of help in this regard.

A story of positive criticism

At this time, a story narrated by my class teacher, when I was in 6th standard, comes to my mind. Even after so many years it is still fresh in my mind and I follow the lesson I learnt from it, not always of course, but whenever possible. Now let's come to the story.

There was a young mother who stayed alone with her son on the bank of a river. This woman toiled from the dawn of the day until the night, working at home and then outside for a living. She wanted to provide her son a good education and life which she didn't have, and the son appreciated it very much, and loved his mother from the bottom of his heart. His mother has taught him to be truthful always and never hurt anyone's feelings.

One day, the mother served his food and called him to sit and eat his dinner, and she sat next to him watching him enjoy the food. Usually he enjoyed his mother's food and relished it. But, today, soon after taking his first morsel from the plate mixed with the accompanying curry, he felt like not eating as there was no salt at all in the curry. But he didn't want to hurt his mother by pointing out her mistake of not adding salt, or leaving the food unfinished, as a protest for providing him such a tasteless food. Instead, he ate the whole plate of food as usual, but not really enjoying it.

After the food, his mother asked her usual question. "Son, how was the food today? Did you like the curry I prepared so affectionately for you?". The son smiled at his mother, and replied, "Yes, it was nice, and I enjoyed it. But if some salt was added it would have been fantastic. I would have enjoyed it even more." Immediately, the mother tasted the curry and her face turned sour.

She realized her folly - she had forgotten to add salt into the curry. She felt sorry for her son who had to eat the food without salt, and appreciated him for bringing it to her notice without hurting her feelings. Since then she always tasted the food by herself before serving him, to see everything was alright, or anything lacked.

Do you offer positive criticism to your friends, or your dear ones?

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    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 2 years ago

      It is a very good point to avoid the word "you" in the conversation. Much appreciated.

    • promisem profile image

      Scott Bateman 2 years ago

      Great topic. I went through management training many years ago that emphasized the need to focus on the behavior and not the person when giving feedback (criticism).

      A simple way of doing it is by avoiding the word "you" in the conversation. It was great advice that I have used for years.

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 4 years ago

      I fully agree with you. It should not be a personal attack, which certainly hurts the writer, and such things should not be encouraged. I'm glad you liked the story.

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      This is a very good hub on positive criticism. I do think that criticism is not a bad thing but only if it's done in a constructive way and in such a way that it doesn't seem like a personal attack on the person being criticized. Honest feedback would really be appreciated but one shouldn't hurt other people's feelings by the way they criticize. I also like the short story you had on positive criticism.