How to Offer Constructive Criticism Without Hurting Someone's Feelings

Being able to pull off constructive criticism requires a very delicate balance.

You should only attempt it if you're 100% certain you can pull it off. These tips will help you master the skill by helping you criticize someone without hurting their feelings.

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Survey Your Situation

Before you embark on a criticizing spree, make sure your opinions are valid and not biased. Try to be as level headed as possible—are your feelings warranted? Or could there be another side of the situation you aren't aware of? After you conduct an honest assessment of the situation, gauge if your critique is still valid. If it is, you're ready to approach your pal. If your opinions don't stand up to this test, it may be best to forget the situation altogether.


Pick a Neutral Place for the Conversation

When planning to approach somebody with criticism, pick a spot that's neutral for both of you. If you pick a place where they don't feel safe or they feel ganged up on, they'll be less receptive. It may also hurt their feelings if you pick a location where you have a lot of allies but they don't (aka your best friend's birthday party or a school gathering). Pick a neutral spot to set the stage for the most productive conversation you can have.

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Use 'I' versus 'You'

When starting the conversation, be very mindful of the way you phrase your sentences. If you throw the word "you" around too easily, you risk hurting feelings and isolating the person on the receiving end. Instead of saying, "You are..," opt for "I feel…" This will save a lot of grief and back and forth.


Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Throughout the whole conversation, your golden rule should be to see things from their side. How would you feel on the receiving end of this criticism? How would the blow be lessened? If your intentions are good and you always put yourself in their place, the conversation should have a successful result.


Now that you've figured out how to handle this type of hard conversation, read THIS to help you conquer a difficult convo with your parents.