This Article is About
informal feedback
loft conversion
low self esteem
self confidence
giving feedback
genuine interest
honest opinion
job application
lack of knowledge
Asking For Informal Feedback - What Do You Want To Know?
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Asking for Informal Feedback  -  What Do You Want to Know?

Have you ever been in the position of asking a friend or acquaintance to give you some informal feedback on something you're doing? It may be a project, a job application, a presentation, plans for a loft conversion ....almost anything you care to think of.

If you have, you may have been pleased with what they said, you may have felt indifferent or disappointed. At worst you may even have felt angry or insulted. However, next time you’re thinking of asking for feedback from a friend, acquaintance or even a relative, spare a thought for them because giving feedback to someone, particularly if you’re unsure of what the person wants to hear is not easy.

Now you may be thinking that’s an odd statement to make. If you ask for feedback then you want someone to give their honest opinion right?

Well you might think so but it's not always as simple as that. People ask for feedback for a variety of reasons including:

  • To boost their confidence (by receiving positive feedback)
  • To confirm their positive opinion of themselves -(no criticism wanted)
  • To confirm their negative opinion - (someone with low self esteem and self confidence)
  • To avoid working something out for themselves - (laziness)
  • To avoid being embarrassed by lack of knowledge
  • To find a quick fix to a problem - (eager to make progress)
  • To learn something new – (and apply knowledge in the future)
  • To tap into someone else’s creativity – (positive knock-on effect on own creativity)
  • To test a range of opinions
  • To do the best job they can
  • To learn from someone who you believe has greater knowledge or experience - (genuine interest)

This is not an exhaustive list. Some of these points may resonate with you or you may have other reasons why you might have asked someone for feedback.

The point I want to make is that by being honest with yourself and understanding why you might ask someone for feedback, it will help you decide who you should ask and what you hope to gain from their views.

You can decide on the scope of the feedback you receive. If you have a tendency to be hurt by other people’s criticisms – minimise any potential hurt by asking them for 2 positive points and 2 areas for improvement. Make sure that you listen and receive what's being said to you or you may well miss out on some information that is particularly helpful.

If you’re the type of person who really does want someone else’s opinions to make improvements, make it clear to anyone you’ve asked for feedback that you really do want them to be open and honest. Be aware that you may have to swallow some hard truths.

Don’t jeopardise a friendship or relationship by asking someone for informal feedback that you don’t really want to hear.


Asking someone for informal feedback can be extremely helpful and provide you with positive information. However, it’s important that you understand your own motives for asking for feedback, think about what it is you want to know, listen and learn from what's said and what you will do with and new ideas or knowledge. And if you find yourself in the position of giving feedback rather than receiving feedback you'll be aware that it's not always as simple as it seems.

Street Talk

Jane John  

Very informative, Thank you. What if the person you ask is not will to give you the feedback could it be a sign of a negative feedback?

  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Jane. People might refuse to give feedback for a number of different reasons. 1. Lack of confidence in giving appropriate feedback 2. Worried about hurting someone's feelings 3. Worried about being misunderstood 4. Worried about being sued. 5. Apathy or laziness 6. Unsure how to give any negative feedback and so on. My rule of thumb is if someone doesn't want to give feedback there's really no point in trying to push it.

  about 1 decade ago
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