I got an email today that took me to task for several typos and some phrasing choices I’d made on various posts here.
Mostly I agree with the comments.
But the tone of the email was awful. The writer said I shouldn’t be talking about writing when I’m obviously a terrible writer – actually the word they used was “horrible.” I gathered from the tone of the missive the sender has never, ever made a mistake of any time. I almost let the email ruin my morning.
I truly don’t get it. The sender had obviously taken a bit of time to go through at least a couple of articles and to demonstrate that they know how to at least copy edit. If they had been less accusatory or even (gasp) supportive I would have been pleased. Instead I felt put down and devalued. Fortunately I’ve lived long enough not to worry about this sort of thing too much, at least not for very long.
I do, however, wonder. I wonder why someone would take that much time and make it a slap in the faces. Did they make themselves feel smarter, better and more creative? Probably, but for how long? And really? When I hurt someones feelings I usually feel badly about it and myself. Even if I’m ‘right’ and have a moment’s gloating satisfaction, I end up not liking myself much, so I wonder about the people who seem to make a profession of putting people down.
Today’s email is a good reminder to me that kindness doesn’t mean not telling the truth and truth told with kindness tends to improve things rather than make them worse. Which sounds, perhaps, a bit sappy, but it’s actually how I’ve re-framed this for myself.
Thanks for listening.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu