Tit for Tat?

I’m feeling a bit “put-out” today.

I did a favor for someone — at considerable personal cost, I might add — yet the favor went unacknowledged.

Un-thanked, too.

Do we live in such impersonal, selfish times that we can’t expect to receive gratitude (at least) for favors rendered??

Here’s what happened.

More than a month ago, someone asked me to read something they’d written and make some comments.

A critique, if you will.

“Be harsh,” they said. “Hit me between the eyes. I can take it.”

Right.

Turns out, they didn’t mean it.

Oh, they wanted me to read all right. But they didn’t want to hear my honest comments.

No, they only wanted someone to stroke their ego.

I don’t roll like that.

You ask for my opinion and you get it.

Sure, I’ll try to soft-pedal so you don’t feel like you’ve been tossed into a berry patch, but don’t bother asking for my thoughts if you’re not prepared to hear them!

What is it about creative people who think they’re above criticism? I’ve heard from too many writers who refuse to join a writers’ group because the others there “only want people to praise what they’ve written and dissolve into tears at anything negative.”

How do writers expect to improve their craft by only hearing the good stuff?

And how many agents and publishers want to work with someone that delicate?

I realize I’m partly to blame for not charging for proofing in the first place.

Some people make a real living at proofreading/critiquing, and doing a “favor” like this took time from my own writing, web design, and even my personal life.

So I’m not real happy about the experience and reluctant to repeat it.

I can only conclude this person was born in a barn or something.

I mean, if someone does me a favor, I make it a point to say “Thank you.”

I might bristle at their criticism.

I might not take their suggestions.

But I acknowledge their efforts and affirm their right to have an opinion.

Shouldn’t I be entitled the same courtesy?