I love to give feedback. Love it. I’d wager that this is pretty universal–who doesn’t like to offer advice?
Over the past few months, I’ve seen the number of varied requests for my feedback increase significantly. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I’m putting the offer out there more often.
I’ve given people feedback on relationships and dating, on applications and resumes, on online dating profiles, on blogs and novels, on event planning and fundraising. For many of those, I spend hours offering advice or even completely rewriting documents for the person. I genuinely enjoy sharing my thoughts and (hopefully) helping people, so if any of those apply to you, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That said, as much as I enjoy giving feedback, I’ve noticed a few patterns that I have a feeling are quite common in the world of feedback and advice. So I’d like to propose three universal rules for asking for and receiving feedback:
Decide if You Want Feedback or Just Someone to Listen: This is a really important distinction to figure out and communicate before you go to someone for advice. If you’re not ready to act on feedback you receive, don’t ask for it. Just tell the person that you need someone to listen to you. I actually wonder about this a lot when people ask me for help on their online dating profile. Do you really want my advice, or do you just need to vent for a minute about how frustrating dating can be? You taking 3 seconds to figure out what you want can save me 30 minutes of rewriting your personal summary.
What’s your experience with giving and receiving advice? In which areas do you feel that you give particularly good feedback?