Yes, that shirt makes you look fat.

Why accepting the truth is so damn hard.

I was in college and going out to yet another basement party, when getting ready my friend Becky, (real names have been altered to spare feelings) asked me for feedback on her outfit for that night’s festivities.

If you’re a girl, you know stuff like this happens all the time. In fact, I’m convinced the average woman gives about 5 feedbacks a day. Whether it’s a mom to her kids, girlfriend to girlfriend, or wife to husband. And most of us, dread it.

I think what scares people is how the receiver might take it. The result of the feedback could make or break a person.

One bad experience I have with feedback stems from not me giving the feedback but my best friend to another friend. I learned that day to be careful when it come to really giving people the truth syrup.

Back to Becky. She wasn’t fat, in fact not at all. However, the shirt didn’t do too well for her figure. The color of the pants didn’t compliment the shirt at all. Her makeup was worst than a spice girl music video. Everything about it was wrong. After uttering the simple question(to her anyways), she silently waited for my response.

This is where I had to pick my battles. I’m not the friend to lie to you if you look bad and tell you, you don’t , but I’m no Grinch either. I won’t give you fashion advice, I’m no Tyra Banks. But I’ll be honest if you ask my opinion on something. Every friend is different, some accept the truth better than others, while others take it as a personal attack. It’s much easier to tell a friend, “yes Becky, you’re outfit looks great!” Than to give them the simple truth, “No don’t wear that”.

We have to be candor with our responses, yet kind. It’s a challenge but it can be done. And the receivers, please put yourself in our shoes.

Pointers to the receiver

What could you do to help in a feedback situation?

  1. Ask yourself why
  2. Think about why you asked the question in the first place, did you want an honest response or a feel good answer…
  3. If you’re looking for the latter, then you have to be mindful of the giver. You know your friends. You know who’s going to butter you up and make you feel like Halle Berry and you know who will tell you the honest truth. So, when you ask for feedback, be prepared to take it.
When I let Becky know, …..”the shirt, is not a good look for you. Try on something else”.

She was crushed. It was as if I’d taken away every ounce of self-esteem she had and buried it with her closet.

Becky, irritatedly pointed out she had nothing else to wear and has exhausted all her outfit options.

When I mentioned to her, that’s not true and we can look, she didn’t even want to hear the rest of what I had to say. All she heard was, “you look fat”.

2. Don’t escalate the situation

Nobody is perfect, we all have flaws. Your feedback giver or your friend, is looking out for your best interest. They are not telling you, you look fat, but that your outfit, not you is unflattering.

Ask them what to change about the outfit or situation in question. Chances are, there’s an underlying reason why they don’t want you to wear that outfit, makeup, or piece of clothing. Listen, with precaution.

We all can help each other out. We’re not all born with Halle Berry’s features, or Rihanna’s closet but we can share ideas and help each other glam’d to the best version of themselves .

Constructive feedback is hard to accept but even harder to give. Remember that, Becky.

I’ll leave you with this, be appreciative that your friend or feedback giver cares enough about you to give you the truth.


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