One of my biggest peeves is being asked for my opinion and what I really hate doing is giving it. (Especially when it’s a friend or family member who wants it.) You really start to step into dangerous territory when they ask for advice or a personal insight. Sometimes friends and family genuinely want an honest comment about something they hold dear or have created. Sometimes they need another idea about what they are wearing. The last thing you want to do is criticise or offend their precious egos when they are seeking constructive feedback. But that’s what they want- criticism. (That’s what they claim they really want.) And that’s the problem. I know deep in the bowels of my finely tuned emotional radar they actually want positive comments and praise. If you choose to be totally honest and give a harsh review you would lose a friend or worse, hurt their enthusiasm. What to do???
I also know that they know when I’m flogging off dishonest praise.
List of when not to give your opinion to family or friends:
* The ever eternal “Does my bum look big in this?” A classic favourite that has withstood the test of time. From cavewoman in loincloths to lycra hugging nightclubbers this question is every mans dread.
* “What do you think of our new home décor?” - You know they’ve spent a bundle and wont be changing the style for 10 years.
* Their choice of school for their child. This one opens a whole socio-economic debate. Public versus private – rich versus poor – snobbery versus working class.
* “What do you think of …?” - Their prospective boyfriend/ girlfriend or husband/wife. Gee if they need an opinion they should really reconsider the choice anyway. This one is really doomed to fail. If they split you should have warned them, if they’re happy and you bagged their choice they will both hate you forever.
* “Like my … Grandmas recipe?” Hmmm. No. when it comes to culinary fare I can't pretend.
* “Hair? Does it suit?” Always like someone's new hair-do. If it’s a bad one it will grow out in 6 weeks.
If you really find yourself hard pressed to give an answer you know will offend your besty or bro/sis’ you can feign sickness or mental stability, smile, agree and hope for the best.