When wanting to offer criticism we begin by asking ourselves, “What is my intention?” Then we ask, “What will be the impact?” There are times that we have good intentions, but the words come out wrong and the impact is the opposite from what we had intended. Is the criticism we want to offer a real issue, or is it based on a personal pet-peeve or preference? Sometimes we need to accept people for who they are.

Having stated the above, there are times that we see a clear deficiency in a close friend, and we know that the deficiency is standing in the way of their future success. In this case, we look at the advice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who taught us, “The believer is a mirror to his/her brother or sister. If one sees something wrong in him/her, then one should correct it” (Adab al-Mufrad, Imam Bukhari). Thus, we do have an obligation to help our friend become the best version of themselves. How? Allah teaches us in Chapter 33, Verse 70, that when we speak with people we need to use words of honour and respect such that the person we are speaking to feels dignified and regarded in high esteem. This means being truthful and honest with your friend about why you want to help them become better and then offering your sincere advice in the same way you’d want your friend to address you.