So Worried about Being Judged

There’s something raw about blogging and social media.  These technological advances make it possible for us to connect our private thoughts to a unbound forum, and it can make one feel vulnerable.  I know I feel vulnerable when I share my thoughts, and I’m always relieved and flattered when people find them acceptable and consensus-building takes place.

Yet, why do I care if others find my thoughts acceptable?  Why is acceptance the standard by which I judge myself?  Shouldn’t I be confident in my own beliefs, attitudes, and values, enough so that if I share them and somebody disagrees (or worse, disapproves) that it won’t crush me, cause guilt, or put me on the defensive?

And yet, that is how I respond (privately) over and over again, to the act of releasing my thoughts into cyberspace.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons by Joe DeShon
Photo from Wikimedia Commons by Joe DeShon

I keep telling myself that it’s okay for me to have a voice.  My thoughts are just as valid as anybody else’s, and they are mine, so of course they belong on MY blog and on MY social media pages.  Yet, I worry about offending others.  Is it okay for me to give voice to issues that might offend others?  Is it okay for me to speak my truths even when I know that they will clash with what others in my circles may find acceptable?

This is an issue of dignity, one that we don’t generally subscribe to in the United States.  I heard a discussion of it on NPR several months ago with regard to free speech.  We Americans value free speech above most other things.  But some other countries, while valuing free speech, have another expectation of not violating another person’s dignity.  This means that when we speak, we should also think about how it will affect others.  This I do, to a fault.  It is nearly driving me crazy.  And it causes me to hold myself to what I perceive to be others’ standards, rather than my own standards of truth in thought.  It is a conundrum for sure.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I have put some ideas here on my blog and on my Facebook page that are controversial in my culture.  But even more, I’ve thought about this because I have offended more people than I can count on one hand in the last several months.  I, of course, did not have that intent, but it still happened.  Am I responsible?  Do I need to temper my ideas and thoughts to avoid ruffling feathers?  I hinted toward this issue when I posted about Adrienne Rich’s Of Woman Born (1975), which I felt needed a warning.  I also posted this preamble on my Facebook page, and several of my friends had great advice.

My friend Josh (who has a memoir coming out in May!) said “Emily, there is zero reason to worry about what offends someone else. Let them fuss and ignore them.”

I feel I need to interject here and say more about Josh’s book, called The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family (2013).  Although I haven’t read it YET, I recommend it.  Josh has Tourette’s Syndrome, is over six feet tall, and loves to read and do strength training.  Almost a decade ago, he and I would talk books, swap writing, and workshop our drafts with each other.  He’s an amazing writer and I will be featuring a review of his book as soon as I read it.  You can visit his blog if you’d like to know more about this remarkable person: World’s Strongest Librarian.

Okay, back to my worries about offending people.

Sylvia said, “He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool; he who takes offense when offense is intended is a bigger fool.”

Heather said, “No matter how well intentioned, you will usually offend someone. Stick to your guns. It’s a great example to your girls.”

Amy said, “Awesome post. And you should never worry about offending others for owning your truth. We have much more potential to inspire when we speak our truth than we have to offend those who choose to be offended.”

Martha said, “offend away! i love reading your perspective. (for the record, you have never offended me, only inspired.)”

I have pretty great, smart, balanced friends, right?

Their ideas are true and nice and wonderful, BUT . . . How do I get rid of the feeling that I’m still somehow responsible?  Why is it that when we get offended, we do all we can to make the offender feel as if they are responsible, even when the truth is, that we can choose how we respond?  Maybe that’s my answer.  Whether I am on the offended or the offensive side, I guess I can choose how I respond.

Does that response include silencing or censuring my thoughts?

How do all of you deal with the vulnerability that comes with posting your thoughts in a public forum?

(Am I too sensitive for blogging?!?) Don’t answer that!

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73 thoughts on “So Worried about Being Judged

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  1. Emily! I totally know this situation. I think one of the hardest things about social media is that sometimes we never meet the people face to face which only shows the side of us that we are writing about. I think one of the hardest things to learn (and I’ll probably have to learn and relearn it forever) is that the people that know you or want to know you, may not agree with everything you have to say but will still like/love you as a person. I agree with some of the comments above that if people want to get offended, they are going to look for something to make them feel offended.

    I think that this vulnerability is an ongoing struggle but more often than not, I say that you should say how you feel. Sometimes something that contradicts what I’ve always thought makes me stop to reconsider it from that person’s point of view and then I can have a different outlook on it. You’re awesome!

    1. Britney, I am so grateful for your comments! You speak such truth, and I like your point about sharing our ideas and opinions with the idea that we can all learn something new and different, even if that is perspective, from each other. Thank you so much for your words! They help. 🙂

  2. Hello emily,
    As with every writers or anyone on the social media, though the sensitive ones like you are always careful not to offend.

    After typing my poem or stories there’s always this fear of clicking the ” publish button”
    after all said and done you always inspire me to writes that’s why i followed your blog

  3. Emily, I think you are perfectly correct to think about the effect your words might have on others. It shows you were raised properly, as they say! I do worry a bit, but if something needs to be said I tend to bull ahead and hope for the best. But free speech should be limited to speech that is not hurtful. That makes sense.

  4. I completely relate. I’ve felt the same way lately with all of the posts I’ve been writing about feminism. I know I’m offending a lot of my family and friends, so I’ve wondered if I should just stop. Why does my voice matter anyway? Aren’t there plenty of other women speaking about feminism and I can just let them handle it—along with the criticism? But I was told recently by a friend that I’m literally the only person she knows who doesn’t think feminism is a bad word. So the lesson for you is: you don’t know whom you might be inspiring! You could be the only person in someone’s life with your view. Keep preachin’ it, sister!

    1. I love your feminism posts, but I understand your angst in posting them and worrying what your close friends and family will think. Your friend’s comments remind me of something my friend Sylvia told me a few weeks ago. She said that somebody else is usually thinking what you are brave enough to say, and that person may thank you for giving them to courage to speak out too. It is right along those lines of what you said, that you just don’t know who you are inspiring or helping.

  5. Dear Emily, I happened on your website just last evening. By the Link-a-Dink Method of Random Interconnectivity, which method disallows retracing steps. You snagged my attention with your I Was Afraid to Major in English (http://wp.me/p26uga-3z) article. Richard’s threadbare corduroy knees brought back memories. I spent more than a couple of my undergraduate years majoring in Suffering (Pre-Med), before I surrendered to the pleasure of reading and became an English major. Vietnam War years. Low lottery number in the draft. Short term goal: Learn From The Masters and Mistresses. Longterm goal: Avoid The Asian Battlefield. The Masters and Mistresses, male and female and blended-nature, always offended. Their offenses annoyed my mind enough to cause my blood to rush. Their perceived affronts weren’t aimed at me; they didn’t even know my name. Still, yes, I hesitate to post my “truths” on my website, so much so that precious few people read what I write. So more power to you, Emily J. That you are prolific is apparent. The fact that you own a large audience speaks not just to your talent as a wordsmith, but as well to your dedication to taking risks. If you are polite, yet never offend a reader, then you’re avoiding the dangerous territory that all great artists explore.

    1. Anthony, I like the perspective that great artists step on toes. Maybe I need to do more of it! But I just don’t know if my poor little heart can take it! 🙂 I am glad you are here and that you are commenting. The interaction with readers is what keeps me going. I love hearing what everybody has to say, even if it doesn’t agree with me all of the time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I am glad to have another English major here. And don’t be afraid to post your own truths! Go for it and see what happens. Although I worry, truthfully, some of the best receptions and conversations I’ve had on this blog have been through those posts that scare me when I push “publish.”

  6. Another friend recently received a scathing comment on her blog, and she was rightfully distressed. Sylvia’s counsel, “He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool; he who takes offense when offense is intended is a bigger fool,” is so wise!

    Thankfully through art competitions of long ago, I noted that a painting might not place at all in one juried show and claim best in show in the next! I realized that we are all different, and just because one person doesn’t like or approve, it doesn’t make the painting bad or wrong. It just didn’t suit that other person. With art, I had to learn to paint for the joy of painting and not to please or win approval from others.

    Writing is the same; it’s a form of self expression, and many times it’s a way to inform others (thank you very much, dear Emily!) about sundry topics. How great it would be to be able to slough off negative criticism, but then one’s skin would become thick and calloused. We would lose those kind sensitive souls that touch our lives in many positive ways, and we should always support them when they speak up about delicate issues.

    I love to fish, and I am very serious when I am fishing! When I encounter a thick-skinned insensitive person, I often think, “I wouldn’t want to be in a boat fishing with him/her all day!” That usually gives me a private smile, and I can better endure that difficult experience!

    1. I love this! You are so wise, and I can see why Hugh feels such a connection to you and your blog! I love the experience you’ve had with art, because sometimes we do well and other times we don’t, but that may just be in the eye of the beholder. I do think it is important that we create, whether through art or writing, for ourselves. I need to focus on that and just remember that I am important in that regard. And I feel more comfortable in my own sensitive skin because of your point about what is lost when we let our skins become hardened and callous. I guess being sensitive is a vulnerable position, but something to be proud of! Thank you so much, Z. Great words from a great person.

      1. you are so welcome. i once defended my ultra-sensitive niece to her boyfriend, who was upset because she burst into tears over a very slight offhand remark. the remark, of course was the trigger, but i suspect she needed to release that sadness. so when he scolded her (which did not help) i said, ‘and what if she became tougher? she would not be that dear sweet karen that we all know and love.’
        they did not stay together much longer, and she is still as sweet and kind and loving – and sensitive- as ever before. she’s a pharmacist and surely comforts many people each day!
        as do you. don’t change!

  7. Of course you must find your voice and speak with it, lovingly and honestly. Here are two quotes that I love because they let me know that growing into myself is a spiritual path, our life’s work:

    “What does God ask of thee, except thyself? Since in the whole earthly creation He made nothing better than thee.” Saint Augustine

    “The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and a God seed into God.” Meister Eckhart

  8. I worry about this too – I’ve refrained from popping off about hot-button topics for this reason. I’ve also been examining my reluctance to get out there with my opinions. Why not say what you think? If you’re not being hateful or ridiculously ignorant, and if your opinion is based on facts (many people omit this step) then you should feel free to express yourself. Your writing is so thoughtful and well-considered, you really shouldn’t have any worries anyway. (Now I’m curious about what you’re not publishing…)

    1. Ha ha ha! I’ve got a secret file of unpublished rants! No, I really don’t. I just worry that my opinions on religion or spirituality or feminism or politics might offend. I guess I’m really worrying too much if you are wondering where the unpublished cuts are! 🙂

      1. Emily, I’m certain that your “opinions on religion or spirituality or feminism or politics” will offend *someone*, as do my own. I don’t believe in god as a superior entity who resides somewhere in the clouds above our heads. Feminism? When the day arrives — I’m sure to be dead by then — that gender definitions as we now know them become as irrelevant and meaningless as racial definitions are now, then the term Feminism will have lost its reason. Politics in the USA? A corporate oligarchy rules an apathetic citizenry (How many times have you heard a person say, “Politics just isn’t my thing.”?). See there now, with no intention to insult anyone reading these words of mine, I offended someone. But you know what? Underlying each of my expressed opinions is the knowledge that *I know nothing*, and the courage to use my ears and heart to listen to what other people say. Not just to hear, but as well to listen.

  9. Oh, how boring it would be to read only safe, tempered opinions all of the time! But I can totally relate to your reservations. I usually find myself asking if what I’m writing will hurt someone or if it will simply make her reconsider her position. It’s absolutely fine to have a strong opinion, but leaving room for others to express theirs makes for a healthy dialogue. When in doubt, a good dose of empathy evens things out. 😉 That said, I can’t recall anything you’ve written being offensive, Emily. I think of you as a strong, smart, opinionated, well-read woman. I look up to you and value your opinion, and I think many others do the same.

    1. Thanks, Rian! I really value your opinion, so your words of encouragement mean a lot to me. And good point on how boring life would be without variation and without the need for debate or dialogue. I think sometimes I like boring… 🙂

  10. Hi Emily! I feel so blessed for having found your blog and read your post. I feel like this was really the answer to my doubts and fear of writing a blog post. For so long, I’ve been wanting to express myself through blogging but every time I try there’s this invisible force that holds me back. And I really don’t know what it is until I’ve read this post. I am so worried of what other people would think about my post, how will they react or how will they deal with it. I was so afraid of being judge negatively through my thoughts that’s why before I even get to start writing a post I am already deleting it in my head. But thanks to you and your friends I am now more confident to write my own blogs. You are all so right! As I was reading I was reminded that how people react depends on the meaning they connect to the things they’ve read, hear or see and we really don’t have control on that. What we can only control is our own thought and action. Getting offended by what we write is they’re soul responsibility. I think we can only be held responsible for their reaction and feelings if we made the write ups directly and specifically against them rather than in general. Thank you and more power! Keep on inspring others just like how you’ve inspired me. From one of your follower here in the Philippines, Charlie. ❤

    1. Charlie, how wonderful that my little worries have been able to help you! I do have some great friends, both virtually and physically, that know what’s up. Don’t be afraid to write. Just do it. Even though I worry, I am always delightfully surprised at the positive energy that comes back to me.

  11. Anthony is so right about true artists exploring dangerous territory. You are the only one who can give yourself permission to explore that territory; I promise you will discover amazing landscapes. And beyond the horizon, there is always more.

  12. In my opinion, blogging is not the best forum for sharing EVERYTHING. It doesn’t include tone of voice and body language, which help us in understanding each other when it comes to difficult, potentially offensive topics. I, for one, like to keep a lot of thoughts and feelings out of the social media sphere because I enjoy discussing them in a more private setting.

    However…..I do love the quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Yeah. Love that.

        1. I have not, as I read it several years ago. I should! I have another of her books on my nightstand, so when I get to it, I will definitely write about it here. She is one of my academic role models!

  13. Here is one of the reasons it bothers me so much when someone is offended by what I do or say…I think to myself…why did they need to let me know they were offended? If the roles were reversed I would NOT have let them know. I would have shut up and worked to get over it.

    Several years ago I was in charge of our church congregation’s women’s newsletter. Every time it was published someone would let me know about some minor error. What could they possibly gain from letting me know of my error after it was published?!? In my mind the only answer was they were just trying to be mean. Being offended by someone and letting them know about it is mean. Mean people are the worst! […end rant…]

    Emily, your voice is important. There are those of us that aren’t well-spoken like you. We live in a conservative culture. I am grateful to know that I am not alone when it comes to thinking outside the box (and a little to the left).

    And now I will press “post comment” with a knot in my stomach worried that I will be judged for sounding stupid.

    🙂

    1. Kathy, you never sound stupid! I am glad you pushed “post.” I think you are right about meanness playing a part in this. (Maybe the golden rule would/should apply to these situations.) I think your example of the newsletter and the minor errors being pointed out proves the meanness theory, but it is also just plain sad. Why, oh why, are we so critical of each other?

  14. People tend to become offended by what I say often. I admit to a fairly blunt delivery but I rarely mean to offend (although sometimes I do it on purpose too.) I think it’s because my opinions are simply unexpected, and instead of allowing for the unexpected opinion people say “you’re so awful.” Through some awkward and freeing social experiments, I’ve found it is not about me at all, but those who judge my unexpected opinions to be ungood, unequal, or unworthy of real consideration who are desperately holding on to their defined ideas. I’ve also found that I like being released from peoples’ expectations, but I don’t like being disregarded for being on the outside.

    I don’t find your blog postings offensive – ever, even if I disagree. In fact I think you’re too ameliorating (but don’t be offended by that! 🙂

    1. Ha! I am too ameliorating. I completely own that, and today’s post tells you why! I like your blunt delivery. It is refreshing. I am glad you’ve learned what it is really about when people react badly to your speaking out, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less, like you said. Nobody wants to be on the outside. It is too bad that speaking about your truths result in that. It doesn’t seem right.

  15. I often have this fear and like you have said, I shouldn’t. I created a blog to get things off my chest and people decided to follow which should really indicate that they like what I generally say so I shouldn’t really care if I offend but I still do.
    We know people can always unfollow but then do we worry about losing followers? If so, should we? Or should we just say “well fuck it, this is me, like it or lump it!”.
    My advice? Write what you want, when you want, how you want and as long as you’re happy with the outcome then it should be there!!

    1. I think I worry more about people not liking me, but I can see how losing followers would be a concern as well. I sometimes feel that my fear is somewhat self-centered, so I have to check that impulse, too!

      1. I don’t mind if people like me or not… I think. Or maybe I do – losing a follower would mean that person maybe doesn’t like me so it could be interelated? Either way I know I’m always a bit worried about posting some topics in case of a negative response!

  16. I love your blog. I have not blogged myself as I would be afraid for the same reasons you highlight & would get bothered by negative feedback, but love to read others. You obviously have qualities of conscience and empathy so you cant go far wrong.

  17. I have definitely struggled with this in the past and I’ve thought about censuring what I say to the public and what my thoughts and views are on specific topics. I came the conclusion though that people enjoy reading things from a real person, people enjoy conversing with real people and sometimes two people’s views are not the same. As long as you are not intentionally trying to offend anyone, it’s okay to voice your opinion. I love reading other people’s opinions on different topics and I think that it really shows that you are a real person with a working mind, not just a pretty face!

    1. I like the idea of authenticity that you bring up. Being real is important and voicing thoughts and opinions is part of that. Very nice! And the working mind over a pretty face part is just fabulous, too!

  18. Emily, you are so beautifully honest with your fears, which we all have. There is a lot of good advice in your post and in the comments. I just wrote these words today to a young blogger. There is an old HR saying that says “no good deed goes unpunished.” So, my advice to her and it seems to apply here is to worry less about what others think and worry more about what gives you joy, peace, etc. We fret over things that are not that important in our lives. We learn by hearing different voices than those we normally listen to. If we all agreed on everything to the same extent, then life would be boring. I want to know why people are passionate about a book, a song, a cause, etc. You give us that. Thank you for what you do and who you are. BTG

    1. BTG, your words have given me peace. You are right that I need to focus more on what I find to be important and what gives me happiness and go for that. It is so hard for me to deal with contention, but you are right that everybody is different and that is a good thing. I need to accept that! Thank you so much.

  19. I think you are being too hard on yourself. I too struggle with not wanting to offend people. I think everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion as well. On the topic of blogging I think it is a perfect medium to be able to express thoughts and feelings. It is one of the reasons I started blogging. I have the problem of lack of communication with others face to face and cannot properly get my feelings across, but with blogging I am able to convey more of my self and my thoughts in an easier way. I happened to stumble across your page and I will be following you from now on. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you! I agree with you on blogging. I have an easier time expressing myself in writing than in speaking, so blogging does that for me too. And you’re right: I have always been way too hard on myself!

  20. Everything we say ‘could’ offend someone, but I think at times, the people who act the most offended are usually the worst hypocrites. Some people go looking for it. They will hear about something that will offend them, and will jump on it just to have something to moan about. This is your blog, therefore it should be a place where you feel free to speak your mind. If some people get offended – and they might – then hopefully they’d bring it up in a rational, calm manner to discuss it with you. But they can’t expect you to just change your views because they offend someone, just as you can’t expect to please everyone. The person who tries to please everyone will never be able to please themselves.

    And look at what people got offended about in the past; most of it we see as laughable, now. And, well, offensive is the best defence. Nothing in this world will ever change if people kept their thoughts in check because they were scared of offending someone.

    Keep writing, and keep posting your thoughts; they are a joy to read, and if they offend someone, well, you’ve made an impact.

    1. I need to stop trying to please everybody! I have that saying run through my head a lot that “you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time,” or something like that. I like that you bring up impact. We can make an impact even if it isn’t what we intended or expected. Maybe a negative could turn positive later on. Thanks for your kind and wise words!

  21. Although it may seem counter intuitive, the offensive nature of a thought or idea can actually be good for all parties involved if taken with tact and care. What I mean is that, whether you are right or wrong, if one of your ideas or thoughts is offensive to another then you can both use it strengthen solid beliefs and dissuade irrational ones. Often times I take offense to something that sharply contrasts with something I believe or that I view as wrong. But I cannot stop there, lest my offense have no reason to be–I must ask why was I taken with offense. Only then can I truly understand the nature of the offense and judge if I am right for thinking as I do. Therefore, if you deem it a constructive topic to explore you should seek to offend with a good nature, if only for hopes of getting to the bottom of the beliefs that you and others hold. Besides, nobody is going to go through life without bumping up an unpleasant peer with which disagreements are hostile. Happens to all of us.

    For some reason I feel like somebody has already posted a comment like this, but I was too lazy to read them and I figured I would add my two cents anyway. Have a nice day.

    1. I think your comment stands on its own, and it is quite profound. What I got from it was that we can’t ever learn anything new or self-evaluate if we aren’t faced with tough ideas or different ideas to help us make sense of our own. I really like that and I’m so glad you commented!

  22. I totally know what you mean. I had to start blogging recently, and also comment on other blogs, for my English class. I had a really hard time with it at first because I was afraid to let others know what I thought. Eventually I had to just realize that it was Ok and my opinions were my own to have. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought.

  23. Speak of what you know and of what you want but always be wary of how you say it. That’s what helps me in many ways when it comes to communicating. I perfectly understand what you are saying. I do that too! I always tell myself and friends to be considerate to an extent but never compromise who you are and what you stand for. There will always be people who are easily offended. I take offense with others, but I get over it quickly through writing and civil discourse. They will too, so don’t worry. It’s not like the intention was to offend outright anyways. Interesting piece you have here!

  24. This inspired me to write about it too, so if you want to read my opinion please visit my blog. I just started two days ago and I want to write about what comes to my mind and music. It would be very cool if you would read my blog 🙂 (I know it sounds like an advertisemend but I don’t mean it like that (omg my English is bad..) I hope you understand…)

  25. All writers are vulnerable, wherever we publish.
    My first blog was anonymous, because I was afraid. And I didn’t even let my family know I kept a journal for years, too afraid someone would read it.
    I didn’t become comfortable with blogging until after I found a very supportive group of writers who accepted and enjoyed my writing. Their feedback in a personal and comfortable environment made me able to throw my thoughts out to the world on my blog.
    But I’m still careful what I write about family and friends, some of whom worry about what might appear on my blog!

    1. It sounds like you understand exactly what I’m feeling. I am glad that you’ve found a caring community of writers to share your work with. I have felt that here on WordPress. People have been, in general, very nice and accepting.

  26. Emily, a response from me to this wonderful post is long overdue — many apologies — but I just wanted to encourage you to keep on being your authentic self. One of the things I appreciate about your writing is your sincerity. It is so easy in this world to be less than who you are because you don’t want to step on toes or hurt people, much less be judged. But you are always sensitive and open and you do not come across as judgmental. I think that is key. Real dialogue builds bridges. But it has to be real, authentic, not white-washed. You’ve set your blog up to be an authentic reflection of your mind and voice — at least it seems so to me. So stay true to your course. It is appreciated. Of course, I know none of this helps at all with that feeling of vulnerability, but I wanted to encourage you. 🙂 Cheers!

    1. Angela, thank you so much! Your encouragement means so much to me. I do try to be sincere and authentic, but even then, I guess it isn’t “trying” but instead just being myself. That’s who I am and all I can be, and I guess these worries stem from the fear that I’ll find out that people don’t like who I really am. But again, why do I care if people approve or not? I guess that is something I struggle with, and many of us do. Thanks for the nice comment and for allowing me to reflect! 🙂 I appreciate you!

      1. You remind me of the phrase in Hamlet, which my grandfather always quoted to me growing up: “To thine own self be true, and then sure as the night follows the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” (Forgive any inaccuracies due to my faulty memory). But I think that it refers to conscience being well-formed and in turn forming an authentic self, which one must then present to the world. We all play a “part,” as the Bard also says, but that part need not be false. You go, girl! 🙂

  27. Reblogged this on Cozy Books and commented:
    I am an introvert, yes. I am also sometimes pretty shy. I want to be accepted for who I am and the way I think and why I think that way. So yeah, maybe it is stupid that when I see in my ‘spammed’ comments a comment about internet wireless routing and a making a boring blog more interesting. But you know what? I think we should all just chillax for a bit and then laugh and admit ‘well, I don’t have to please you, do I? There are plenty of other bloggers out there who probably like this blog just fine, so I’m not gonna let you bother me.’ And maybe this sentiment is childish and I should just get over myself. But I don’t think so. So I won’t. I write and erase and rewrite my posts, comments on other blogs and emails so many times it’s frustrating. So I really liked this post, and I really like the blogger. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I am an introvert too. (Obviously!) I agree with what you’ve said about chillaxing and being brave and being supportive and being authentic. Well said!

  28. I found this post (after having asked you about how you deal with rude comments) and I do remember having read this earlier in the spring.

    I worry about the same thing and I’m thin skinned that way…so what I’ve consciously done is stick with my own experience on my blog, which other people cannot refute. For example, when the news about Yahoo’s CEO abolishing their work-from-home policy came out, I wrote about my own experience working from home instead of weighing in on whether her decision was right or wrong. I figure that my energy is limited and I don’t want to spend it arguing with internet readers or getting worried about what other people think so I just stick with safe topics on my blog (which isn’t to say that I suppress my voice…I just share my opinions outside of the internet sphere).

    I did get my first nasty comments last fall when I had a couple of posts syndicated on two major websites. The less people know you, the more freedom there is to judge and to blurt out something without thinking. I actually emailed one of the women who were kind of nasty to me – I was nice and told her her comment stung but that it did make me think further about what I had written – and she was so embarrassed, apologetic and gracious. After some back and forth, we both realized that she was reacting to what I had written because it triggered a bad memory of hers. She completely read into my post things that I never said. That experience made me realize how easy it can be for a reader to bring his or her own biases and baggage into the way they read and interpret another writer’s words.

    1. Oh wow! What a stressful situation, but you handled it well. How brave of you to email her and try to work things out. It is too bad that some of us react so quickly to what seems to be there and what our own pasts bring to the conversation instead of realizing how such knee-jerk reactions could affect the person behind the writing. I had a situation where a commenter accused me of being jealous of an author because I didn’t like the book. I wrote back and told her how hurtful her assumptions were and she backed down and tried to be a little nicer. It is hard! Life is hard face-to-face! I think online interactions just complicate that even more. Now we can connect with perfect strangers, which in some cases I actually prefer!

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