The subtle art of not giving your opinion

Elena Borisova
2 min readMar 6, 2021

Last year’s work with six products at the same time made me realize one thing about feedback. A lot of times it helps, but there’s also a dark side to it. Sometimes it’s just too much. Even excellent feedback can be damaging if it ignores context. Even the most horrible feedback can take a lot of effort to dismiss.

That got me thinking — where am I, too, a part of the problem? Can I apply the same logic to day-to-day life?

So I started this simple experiment and quite happy with the results so far (of course need to collect more data).

Do I need to share my opinion?

Here’s an example: outbuilding entrance door lock was getting stuck, and we were running a risk of not opening it one day. One of the ideas discussed in our Whatsapp group was that the lock froze and needed some oil to be fixed. The “I love facts” part of me got immediately triggered — it’s not about the cold! The door was getting stuck before it was cold too! Halfway through typing this message, I remembered about the new experiment.

  • Do I have a better explanation or a proposal? — Nope
  • Can adding oil to the lock hurt someone in some way? — Nope

So how about I won’t say anything? Less back and forth, and yes, the lock got fixed with some oil.

We don’t need a committee to solve every single problem in the world. Sometimes it’s best to leave people alone, save time and spend energy on something important.



Elena Borisova

Combining data and psychology for product and design decision-making | Head of Design at DeepL |