I’m reverting back to the kindergarten rule of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Or at least I am really going to try to follow that completely.
A recent conversation I had trying to fix someone’s writing got misinterpreted and the person’s feeling’s got hurt. In retrospect, I could have gone about reading it out loud a little nicer (an editing habit one of my first newspaper editors taught me that I still cling to) and not allowed other people to submit their thoughts. There are about 10 things I could have done differently and handled the situation with more class. I didn’t. Now I feel bad.
Editing is its own form of criticism and I’m still learning how to nicely say, this might have worked for you in the past, but it can be better!
Luckily, the person I offended is extremely professional and knew I was just trying to help, not hurt.