Reading A.J.'s post about tact got me thinking about the whole subject. I've never been a candidate for any awards in this department. Whenever I have been asked for my opinion, I have always tried to offer it honestly. I know there have been times when what I had to say was not what the other person wanted to hear. And I know that, sometimes. I was not really being asked for my opinion but rather for praise.
I have been on both sides of this. There have been many times when I proudly displayed a piece of work, expecting to be lavished with praise, only to be told, in one way or another, that my efforts had not produced a masterpiece.
The worst time to receive such an opinion is when you are delivering a project and expecting to be handed a check. At that point, any expression of anything less that ecstatic joy on the part of the customer can pull the rug right out from under you.
I remember once building a large cabinet that held a Murphy bed but was supposed to look like an armoire. The design called for a very dark, rustic looking piece. I had worked with the client's designer and had matched both the color and texture he had specified pretty closely so I was expecting that the client had been clued in on what to expect. But when I proudly uncovered the piece in the client's driveway, she simply (and literally) burst into tears. Needless to say, my ego was instantly crushed like a stepped on aluminum soda can. And in the same moment, a vision appeared in my mind of my check sprouting wings and flying away. I ended up refinishing the whole thing and eventually I got it to where the client was happy with it.
Learned a lesson there. Actually I learned a couple but I'll go into those later.
Other things you don't want to hear when you deliver a project (I have heard them all at one time or another):
"That's not finished, is it?"
"Is that what I'm getting?"
"Wasn't that supposed to be lighter?"
"Oh, my husband/wife is going to have to look at this."
"Maybe you shouldn't bring it in just yet."
"Uhh … umm … err …"
"But what about the …?"
Feel free to add to the list.