I agree with you there, with a small caveat. Even when people ask for criticism, it can be a bit of a mine field because I think people get personally attached to the things they create a lot of the time.
On another forum I sometimes go on; in the critique section no less, a guy asked for pointers for his portrait sketch. I posted something along the lines of "The main problem that I can see is that the proportions are out..." and then listed 3 or 4 parts of the drawing that were not the right size or aligned weirdly. (there were a few more, but I just listed the main ones) any how, he didn't seem to take it too well; gave me a slightly passive aggressive response for my troubles.
Yeah that's totally true. One time I actually asked someone to go through my account and give me criticism on anything they found. I started out excited but after a while it left me pretty insecure. It was pretty helpful and I thanked them for every comment but I don't think I have asked for criticism in such a way since then lol that was kind of intense
But I feel like when you ask for criticism then I think the burden is on you to take it... of course if your ultimate goal is to try to avoid conflict then yeah totally tread carefully. Even though it kind of brought me down sometimes I'm still glad that a lot of people have given me criticism. I don't know that guy but even though he responded defensively, after he calmed down he might have taken your advice anyway.
But yeah totally, people can think they are ready for criticism but actually aren't. I still think you were in the right there though, but yeah it's something to keep in mind. I never really give criticism unless I have a relationship with them already and they asked me for it.