Should You Give Feedback In Dating?

Our society loves a review. We will Yelp our favorite restaurant and give an Amazon item five stars. But is it the right thing to review a person? Dan Savage, the columnist and podcaster, goes by the “campground rule” for relationships, which is, “leave it better than you found it.” It could be interpreted as to correct them. I see it more as to not traumatize them or break their self-worth. When you are in a heated moment, you are tempted to spew out why you are breaking up and all their faults. Should we ever give feedback in dating?….


My biggest reason to not review a person is because of “overcorrection.” You might hate a behavior, however, the next person could be obsessed with it. For example, you could hate that he or she is overly communicative, but an average healthy person would expect that. You have to understand that you might be the toxic one and it is unfair to break a person down to meet your level.

Any criticism is remembered…..

As humans, we will only remember the negative. This is to protect us from further harm and it is our ego protecting us. When you absorb that feedback it will impact future relationships. We create limiting beliefs from outsiders’ opinions. This can be a problem when you want to wipe the slate clean and get back out there. 

What if he/she asks for it?….

This can be a trick and should be proceeded with caution. Some people do want to improve for the next relationship and probably deserve an explanation if they were blindsided. But beyond cheating or something very obvious, there might not be a reason. Some relationships simply don’t make the cut to the more serious level. This is nothing personal, it truly is a matter of not fitting. You can only really give the generic, “it’s not you, it’s me” breakup sometimes. It is better to say something if they cannot move on without an explanation. 

Adding insult to injury….

There might be “icks” that come up in relationships. You can be turned off by the tiniest thing and then see that person in a different light. For example, there could be the guy who clears his throat after every sentence, or the girl who eats all your fries when she said she wasn’t hungry. You have to think if they can change these things and how much they bother you. Remember everyone comes with quirks and most are already aware of them. It is difficult to rewire a brain to stop doing impulsive actions. 

Would you want someone to change you?….

“Love me at my worst” is a problematic saying. The sentiment is sort of true….we are not perfect. There will be days when you are not your best. And to be be judged like you are a contestant on a reality show is brutal. People who love to give feedback see themselves as superior. It is easier to correct others than to look inward. 

You don’t want to become their dating guru….

In general terms, when a man wants feedback after a breakup they might treat you like an unpaid dating coach. It is hard to open up the floodgates of giving someone a nugget of feedback when all of the sudden you become his “wing man.” Some people really want answers and it can become exhausting. It would seem annoying to mold a man into this great guy only to give him to the next girl.

What if a pattern is forming….

If you are receiving the same generic feedback and everyone breaks up with you, then you are the problem. Notice actions and patterns over words. It is best to go inward and really examine what you could be doing wrong. If you are still having issues pinning it down, go to an unbiased friend who can be straight with you. Friends do recognize what you are doing wrong, yet are afraid to voice opinions to avoid conflict. 

Bottom Line…..

We are used to giving feedback and touting our two cents with product reviews or giving friends advice. It feels natural to mold a person into the perfect partner. Sure, you could do the “compliment sandwich” if it’s a tiny thing you want to change. It is hard to erase a behavior that is ingrained. You can’t change how a person sneezes or laughs. You probably wouldn’t want someone to come in and “strip you for parts” either. Most relationships run out of gas and have no definitive reason why they don’t work. Mostly, it is because they do not fit right with goals or family/friends, etc. Most importantly, it is crucial for you to recognize patterns of the rejections. If you can’t figure it out, a close friend will know. Finally, keep the rule of thumb to “leave them better than you found them.”