As for the other thing, I do think a true friend tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. It’s not easy to be honest when you know it will hurt someone’s feelings, but who is the better friend? The one who tells you a hard truth, or the one who lies to you? The ones I’d be cautious of are the people who encouraged you to put out a book before it was ready.
Excellent post! And I agree, on all counts.