I hate asking for criticism from friends and family, because instead of getting brutally honest feedback, I get praises instead telling me what I’ve done right.

Even when I tell them it’s okay and that I won’t be offended by their words, they still hold back.

Like the one time I made lemongrass ribs for my mom — she tasted it and told me “it was really good and special”, but when I tried it, I couldn’t believe how much I had over-salted it. I asked her why she didn’t mention it but she justified it by saying it was perfect alongside of rice.

My mom had wanted to protect my feelings so instead decided to lie. And that’s how the people closest to us are — always keeping us away from harm, including hearing brutally honest truths, is something ingrained in them. They only seek what’s best for us and in this case was me being happy.

The problem, however is that it makes it very difficult, almost impossible to rely on them because of how much they care. Inflated compliments are great encouragement, but they don’t offer much towards actually wanting to learn or improve.

In another instance, I had a friend who wanted to open her own restaurant. Out of all the friends and family who loved her idea, I was perhaps the only one who didn’t. As much as I wanted to encourage her, I didn’t want to lie — her food was average at best and not something I thought was worth her parents taking out the $200,000 loan for. She opened the restaurant anyways given the positive feedback received from other friends and family and ended up closing it one year later.

Asking friends and family for feedback is a mistake many of us make. We ask for feedback but because most of the time they’re so unwilling to hurt us, they’d rather lie than give us the truth and we end up making the wrong choice. If we want to improve or succeed, we have to make them tell the truth, or choose to seek answers elsewhere from sources that are true and unbiased.