“So, what did you think?”

What a dangerous question for the performer to ask the audience member. Or for the writer to ask the reader. Or the artist to ask the recipient.

Do you really want to know?  Are you looking for constructive feedback to make your work better?

Or are you just looking for approval?

A friend of mine–brutally honest, sometimes to a fault–would get invited to see his friends productions. (In his defense, he’s equally effusive in his praise as he is damning with his criticism.) He has trouble hiding his opinions, but does his best. But if anyone asks him, “So, what’d you think?” after a show, he’ll tell them. He’ll tell them the truth or more accurately, his truth. Often the friends would get frustrated and upset hearing his truth.

Finally he started advising them ahead of time, “I’ll come see your play.  I’ll support you. But please don’t ask me what I think afterwards.  Unless you really want to know. Cool?”

He stopped getting invited to see shows.

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