Recently I've come across two instances of people giving a writer what they genuinely considered to be helpful advice. Both times they were being supportive: take no notice of that criticism, was the gist of it. You're a wonderful writer.
Hmm. I'm all for being supportive, and there are times when we need the back up from our friends and family regardless of the facts, but I don't think it's always helpful. There was a comment in the paper last week from Martin Freeman (the new Dr Watson) about this. He remarked on those people who auditioned for shows like the X Factor who had been told by their family they could sing, and then were cruelly exposed on national television.
In both these instances, although the supporters were being kind, I felt that some tougher talking would be better. Constructive criticism may hurt sometimes, but in real life we can't all win the race, we can't all get a certificate just for entering. Sometimes you need to know that what you've done isn't good enough. It's hard, but there it is.
And if you know it isn't good enough, you have the chance to make it better, and that's the great thing about writing. You can always make it better.