How to ask friends for feedback
Do you know what your strengths are? Or your weaknesses, for that matter. Often we're not able to see things for ourselves; we become blinded to our own capabilities. A part of confidence is having a realistic view of your abilities which includes your strengths and weaknesses.
Sometimes we're just unaware because we live with them all the time. A good example is the air freshener advert on TV. Where the owners are unaware of how their home smells, but visitors wrinkle their noses.
In the same way, it's often the people around us that are more aware of our strengths and weaknesses. One of the best people to ask is your devoted friends. Our families can offer insight, but they can also be a bit biased.
On the other hand, close devoted friends have strong ties to us but can be more objective.
If your nervous about asking, I've got a fool proof method on how to ask friends for feedback.
Why We All Need A Little Help From Our Friends
Friends Can Identify Strengths You May Not Give Yourself Credit For
Devoted friends, who you trust, know you better than most. They know you and have seen you at your best and (ahem) worst. Which makes them uniquely qualified to comment on your abilities.
If you were to ask your closest friends, I'm sure they would highlight talents and strengths you wouldn't usually give yourself credit for. Besides, seeing your best side through someone else's eyes can be incredibly humbling but can also seriously boost your self-confidence.
Friends Can Identify Weaknesses You May Not be Aware of
Your closest friends will have your best interests at heart. They are the ones who know you inside and out, and as such, they know what:
- Motivates you
- Frustrates you
As well as your areas of weakness.
What's better than someone who knows all this and still chooses to spend time with you!
Having trusted friends who will be frank and honest with you is one of the most brilliant benefits of a healthy friendship. Primarily because your friends can offer constructive criticism about your weaknesses that don't have you hiding in shame or embarrassment. In fact, you thank them for pointing them out to you.
But to ensure you get the feedback that will help you, here are three top tips to use.
How To Ask Friends For Feedback
Asking a friend for feedback is relatively easy, but you want to ensure that the feedback will be super helpful. Something that you can act on that's specific especially if it involves pursuing a particular job or life change. You might understandably be nervous about doing this. After all you're making yourself vulnerable.
Here are some top tips that will help.
Set The Scene And Be Sincere
Asking someone out of the blue is not helpful. You put them on the spot, and the feedback you get will not be fully representative. So setting the context for your request is pretty important.
The first step on how to ask friends for feedback is to let them know why you are asking. Perhaps it's because:
- you want to get to know yourself better and to make improvements, or
- to raise your self-awareness, so you know what you want to focus on.
If you are sincere with your request, your friend is likely to be more supportive. Let them know that you sincerely appreciate their insight and you want to know their honest opinion.
Be sure to set their minds at ease by letting them know that you are looking for positive and negative information because you trust them. Tell them that you know they will have your best interests at heart.
Arrange An Appropriate Time
As I mentioned above, asking someone out of the blue will not give you the response you're looking for. Your friend will need some time to think things over. Also consider that you will also need time to prepare yourself - you might be nervous about what they share and you want to ensure that you are in a good frame of mind to accept what they are saying. By the way I'm not saying you have to agree with it!
So another important tactic on how to ask your friends for feedback is to choose a suitable setting.
How about suggesting that you meet for a coffee? A friendly, relaxed atmosphere where you can both have a good chat.
Or perhaps there is a park that you like to go to. Grab a coffee from your favourite outlet and enjoy being out in the open air. I always find that I'm more open to hearing things when I'm out in the open. Perhaps it's because there's something about all that lovely clear space that just opens the mind and helps you think clearly.
Provide A Tool For Them To Use
Your next tip on how to ask your friends for feedback is to provide them with questions in advance.
Your friend may feel daunted or nervous about the prospect of providing feedback, so make it easier for them to do so by giving them an easy-to-use tool. One of the best ways is to provide them with some questions as a prompt.
Remember that you'll want a comprehensive response – just knowing your strengths and weaknesses may not be enough. You'll also want to know in what way you show that particular strength/weakness and how it impacts others around you. Understanding the context is also beneficial to ask in what ways you demonstrate the specific strength or weakness.
You could put the questions in a form with three columns
- Write your question – what are my 3 - 5 top strengths? Then further down the same column, write – what are my 3 – 5 weaknesses?
- In the second column write can you give me an example of when this strength/weakness is shown
- Finally in the third column write, how, in your opinion, does this strength/weakness impact you (i.e. your friend) or others around me?
Remember to give them your questions in advance for maximum benefit.
Start With The Positive
Giving feedback is like a sandwich. There's a top, middle and bottom. Start with the good, continue with the not so good and finish with more goodness.
So my next tip on how to ask your friends for feedback is to start with the positive.
Even if your aim is to better understand your weaknesses, if you start with the positive first, it really helps. Who wouldn't love to hear some good things about themselves? So start with your strengths. You might discover some that you were unaware of.
Oh, and you know when they ask you at interviews what your strengths and weaknesses are? Wouldn't it feel easier to tell the interviewer what your friend thought? You will feel more comfortable when you are able to refer it to someone else. Sounds less boastful.
Unfortunately, most of the time when we hear feedback or criticism, we tend to focus on the negatives. By starting and ending with something positive, it helps to even out what you can take in.
Always leave on a high is my motto.
A Positive Outcome
There's no better resource than trusted friends when you need objective insight into your strengths and weaknesses. Set yourself up for success with the tips above on how to ask friends for feedback - good and bad of course!
Tapping into healthy friendships can make identifying your strengths and weaknesses easier than relying on your own assumptions.
As one of my old professors at Uni would say – To assume makes an ass of you and me!