I am a writer who likes to share my work with a select circle of people. Some of my initial readers are helping me to edit, some to polish and some to just float a test balloon of the likability of my project.
The group with which I share my unfinished work is small, but if I had to choose two people and only two people, I would have a critic and an ego-stroker. You need two separate people for this job, unless they have a Three Faces of Eve thing going on.
My critic tells me what is good, what can be better, what I should just throw out and start again. This person is absolutely necessary in many, many ways. I don't think there are many writers out there who can write so perfectly that the first draft is the final draft. I don't know if those writers even exist. Writing requires tweaking, fine tuning and finessing. Knowing when to take the advice of your critic is an art in itself, but having a critic or two can make all the difference to your writing.
My ego-stroker tells me that they really like everything and that I am a great writer. This person may be flat out lying to me, but I don't really care because they are serving a very specific purpose.
This would be a good time to point out that I have a very vain streak and I have many a moment that I seek validation for the things that I do. A deficiency? Probably, but I have to work with what I have and what I have is a need to be told that I am decent at what I am doing and not just wasting my time.
3 days ago