Why I Never Ask If People Like My Work

White Trees, Series 2, No. 4

White Trees, Series 2, No. 4

I hardly ever ask for anyone’s opinion of my work.  In fact, with rare exception, I make it a point specifically not to do so.  Why do I do this?

Simple.  If you ask someone whether they like your work or not, there’s usually two possible outcomes.  The first is that they don’t really like your work, but they’re too polite to say so.  You then put them in the uncomfortable position of either coming up with a polite way to say they don’t like it, or lying to you and saying they do like it in order to spare your feelings.  The second possible outcome is that they really do like your work and tell you so.  If this happens, though, you’ll never be sure if maybe they really don’t like your work, but they’re lying just to be polite.  Asking the question therefore largely is a lose-lose proposition, since you likely never can be sure if you’re getting an honest opinion.  In fact, the only way to “win” this game is if someone straight-up tells you they dislike your work, because at least then you can be sure you’re getting the truth.

The only feedback that’s really worth anything is unsolicited feedback.  If someone tells you they like your work, without being under any obligation to do so, then you probably can trust that it’s true.  And that’s why I rarely ask anyone if they like my work.


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