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?

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7 thoughts on “Tit for Tat?

  1. I agree! Speacially because to be honest I just saw my self in the mirror of your note. I’m a mess some days by wanting to learn something just by “hearing the good ones”. I write by the love of taking my fingertips/keybord on an eternal romance. At the end I just do it for fun. But you are so right! We who put a word out there should be of a teachable spirit.
    Thanks!
    ~Mirian.

    • Hi Mirian, and thanks for visiting! Thanks for your comments, too. I guess nobody really is above learning something new every day — that kinda makes life interesting, don’t you think?

  2. Somebody asked me to edit a short story. I didn’t have time but did it anyway, to be a good soldier. When I sent it back three days later, she said, “Oh, that is now the OLD version. I’ve rewritten it COMPLETELY.” And did she thank me? Nope. But can you train such people? In answer to that I will quote Anonymous: “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It will waste your time and annoy the pig.”

    • Lynne, I LOVE that quote! My dad used to say, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” That’s pretty much the same thing, isn’t it? I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only “good soldier” trying to help a fellow writer, but I’ll certainly be wary about lending help in the future! People like that give the rest of us a bad rep.

    • Kathy, thanks for lending a sympathetic ear! I debated long and hard over posting this, but the whole situation nagged me until I decided to go with it and let the chips fall where they may!

  3. Deb,

    I think that’s fine to post this as it reinforces the importance of courtesy in communication. Besides maybe the person you are referring to will come across it and be enlightened (you wish!)

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