A few weeks ago, I totally ignored Don Miguel Ruiz’s second agreement:
“Don’t take anything personally“.
Let me give you the Coles notes version.
Knowing my love of music, one of my readers told me about a fellow blogger’s music challenge. When I checked it out, I loved the idea so much that I asked that blogger if she would like to cross-promote and she graciously agreed.
We’ve been having great FUN ever since.
Both of our respective challenges revolve around music and are just for fun – her challenge revolves around the fun of digging through your music collection to fit the week’s theme and my challenge asks writers to create a fiction piece based on a song lyric.
We enjoy exchanging with other like-minded music lovers and fiction writers like ourselves.
I even reached out and told some fiction friends I met during the A to Z Challenge and #Barathon as well as a few others whose blogs I follow and who I know share music. They were all cool with it and happy that I had let them know.
All except for one. I’ll affectionately call this one blogger “G” (as in “Grinch”).
From following his/her posts, I knew that G often posted music and I thought that s/he might be interested in joining in on the music fun part.
I was wrong.
The sharpness and the tone of this blogger’s response totally took me for a loop. This is an edited snippet of G’s response:
“Have you encouraged that individual to visit my page? I only visit people who show interest in my blog…In the future, please refrain from unsolicited advertisements of other sites. Those will result in being marked as “spam” and being perma-blocked…”
My initial thought was “What?” followed by the contradiction in the first two sentences. How does a blogger/writer expect to build community when they are only open to showing interest in those who read their blog?
Sure, as bloggers, we are all a little narcissistic since we often talk about ourselves but only visiting blogs who show an interest in yours?
I’m not a quid pro quo blogger. I don’t follow and read others with the expectation that they will do the same. I read tons of bloggers that don’t follow me. I might enjoy what they write but if they don’t enjoy what I write, I don’t expect them to visit more than once or follow me. As readers, we can’t all have the same interests – that’s what makes the world go around.
To be quite honest, G’s response broke my heart a little bit, making me feel as if I had done something underhanded and sneaky when all I was being was friendly – the same way I’ve mentioned a new release of a fantasy sci-fi book to a blogger who I know enjoys fantasy sci-fi or forwarded a link via comment about NaNoWrimo to a writer who says that they want to write a novel in a short period of time.
Simply a friendly gesture.
But in an instant, I allowed G’s negativity to turn me into a “tit for tat” blogger.
Though I replied in a diplomatic way, I will admit that my tone was steeped deep in total annoyance. Not only did I invite that blogger to unfollow me, I told them I was unfollowing and then promptly unfollowed him/her. That’s how annoyed I was.
Should I have taken the comment personally?
Maybe not but in that moment, I chose to take it personally. There are times when you need to boomerang back what someone gives you and that’s what I did. And I don’t regret it.
But after my annoyance subsided, I actually felt a little sad for G. In hindsight, most of G’s posts were tinged with quiet undertones of negativity against society which I let slide due to the heaviness of the subject matter they usually posted about. But now I realize that G may simply have been a sour person unable to recognize what “friendly” looks like.
There is always at least one positive lesson to be learned from any negative experience and these are the takeaways from mine:
- If your open hand is met with a closed fist when you reach out with the best of intentions, it says nothing about you but a lot about the other person;
- Don’t be shy to say what you want to say in a diplomatic way;
- Shake their negativity from your spirit. Who knows what they may be going through in their lives;
- Unfriendly bloggers are very rare so focus your energy on the friendly WP folk; and
- Remove them from your Reader. You don’t need others dulling your shine.
If I ever encounter another G, I will simply have two words for them (and no, not the two words that you are thinking of 😊).
My two words will simply be “Thank you”…as in “thank you” for helping me appreciate the other 99.9% positive WordPress folks I have encountered over the years in the community.
And I thank YOU for continuing to share, exchange, read and comment.
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