Feedback is an important part of our society. It's when we convey what was good, what was bad, and what can be improved. However, if you truly wish for your feedback to be positively effective, timing is off the utmost importance. Specifically when the recipient is ready to receive it.
Perhaps the best example to illustrate this is taking care of a child. Everyone has different opinions about how to raise children. This is a combination of exposure to ideas, experience spent with children, and your own personality. The stereotypical story is the working father doing something and the housewife instructs what he should be doing. This does not work. People do not want to be doing what they think is best only to be told that they are wrong, especially while they are in the midst of struggling. Instead, they would more likely be willing to receive help and, after things calm down, discuss what would have been the best method.
I think when people are having trouble, they don't want advice unless asked for. Instead, they want to see signs that they are cared about and appreciated. When they think they did the right thing also isn't a good time to critique. Instead they need to doubt first that they were right. However, you probably don't want to knock them of their horse right away either. If it can wait, let them enjoy their pride for a moment or they might start to think every conversation with you will be to criticize what you have done.
When people know they did something wrong, this is a bit more tricky. Some want consolation while others want to know how to improve and others want to try and fix things. Also keep in mind that some may want a break. It could be to reflect on their own or maybe they are tired of thinking about the subject. After all, constantly thinking about something you cannot do anything about is a big cause of stress. Therefore it is important to consider many variables such as time, gravity, appearance, and personality before giving feedback.
Another reason to ponder timing is that you might not be ready to give feedback either. If you are angry, you'll likely be unable to avoid personally attacking in your critique. If you are upset, you likely won't be clearly logical in your argument. Even if you are logical in your head, you'll likely neglect to mention certain key points, making it difficult for anyone to follow your line of reasoning. In addition, they might be distracted by the emotion in your voice leading them to think more like, "How can I get him to calm down?"
Feedback is an important thing as it allows us to praise someone for their work or advise on how to improve it. However, in all cases, we should be patient and consider when is the best time to give it.
N. D. Moharo