Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

There’s this epidemic going around. When it comes to the internet, somehow etiquette, politeness, and the Golden Rule have all gone out the window. It’s as if it has become okay for people to become rudely, brutally, and unnecessarily mean just because they aren’t actually saying it to your face.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve fallen victim to this. In a rage-filled PMS moment, I sent a very tersely worded e-mail to some poor soul whose only fault was working for some company that ticked me off. Why would I do that? In what situation would Miss Manners herself, ever deem this behavior acceptable?  The answer is: she wouldn’t. 

Is this to say that we shouldn’t be honest? That we should never say how we feel? No, of course not. There are ways to say things, however, that can get your point across in a nicer, kinder way.

As a published author I have had my share of comments said toward me via the internet, which were rude, inconsiderate, and rather cruel. I know. Woe is me. I could tell you that I have thick skin and that I just let those mean-people-comments roll off my back, but it’s not true. Unfortunately I mull over them and have even shed a tear or two (or three).

I’m in good company, though. No author is free from these critiques. Even the most famous ones have been ripped a new one via the internet. E.L. James (50 Shades of Grey) had a one star review that said “if crap had an a**hole, this is what would be coming out if it.” So basically if crap could crap, this is what it would be. I know, I laughed too. But it was a cruel comment, and intentionally so.

Obviously, there is not one book that everyone loves. Even the classics haven’t been left out. I found this gem from Pride and Prejudice:  “I would rather endure a daily root canal than read this book again.”

We all have different tastes and likes. It’s what sets us apart from each other. It’s what makes us unique. It’s okay to not like something, and it’s okay to say it. But it should be done in a kind, considerate, and thought-out way. It should be as if you were saying it to the person directly, because you pretty much are.

I think with the internet, as a rule of thumb, we should just go back to what dear ol’ mom taught us: “If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it at all.” It’s a good way to think when you are making comments, leaving reviews, sending emails. I pledge to follow this rule and never let a bout of PMS guide my interactions ever again. Join me. 


  1. Well said Becky. I totally agree with you. Writing is so subjective. My editor told me to think of my books as an item of clothing (not everyone would choose to wear the same thing!) But I'll be honest what makes me laugh many times people have actually finished a book and then made a rude comment, my question is: why finish it? If I decide that a book is not for me I find it hard to continue reading it. Anyway, fab blog post xx

  2. You make some great points. The internet offers us a protective shield as the commentor, but the words still cut as deep when you are the commentee. People need to realize that being honest and real are not the same as being rude and mean. You can be honest without making someone. else hurt.