There is a heartbreaking scene in James Baldwin’s 1962 novel, Another Country, in which Richard, a novelist and author of crime thrillers, accuses his wife of “despising” his creative work. “You seem to have so little respect for my success,” he barks at her, before breaking down in tears. The presence of creative ambition within any relationship can be corrosive; the potential for judgment is always present. If that feedback turns negative, friendship—and even love—can sour. When the stakes are so high, what should you do if you can’t stand the artistic output of a close friend? Stay silent or speak up? It is first worth considering whether they really need to hear your honest thoughts. Will your feedback offer them a new way forward or will it simply drag them down? “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art, ” Susan Sontag argued, and the motivations behind that vengeance need to be carefully This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 50 Close Knit Meet the weavers keeping traditional Egyptian tapestrymaking alive. Arts & Culture Issue 50 New Roots The Palestinian art and agriculture collective sowing seeds of community. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Checked Out Why is hotel art so boring? Arts & Culture Issue 49 Cult Rooms The history—and future—of Luna Luna Park. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Last Night What did gallerist Selma Modéer Wiking do with her evening? Arts & Culture Issue 46 Correction: Feedback Forms Why customer star ratings are so unsatisfactory.