I have been debating with myself on whether I should post this or not – but I have decided we may all benefit from this discussion. So here goes. [Sidenote, I have a degree in communication]
[Sidenote, I have a degree in communication]
Hurting others gets you nowhere!
Yesterday I wrote this post: Are you a lazy writer, and many of you took the time to comment, and also I shared the post on Facebook and received some great comments. Most of the comments were about the content of the post, and thank you for that.
But one comment was not. One person decided to give me her opinion about the number of typos and spelling errors on my blog – in other words; I met the Grammar Police, and it was not a positive experience. In some ways, it was quite ironic given the topic of my post, and how I debated that writers should be supportive to one another and not antagonistic. You may think, that it is not necessarily antagonistic to comment on spelling errors and typos, but I beg to differ. Because the comments she made, was not coming from a helpful place, they were just an attack, just a way to put someone down.
Especially for me not being a native English speaker, it doesn’t feel great when I receive a comment like that, and that was exactly what I talked about in the post, which she commented on. How we are not all perfect in spelling, but the more we write, the more courage we have to try and share, the better we get. So don’t ruin that for anyone!
How to give good advice
All of the above doesn’t mean, that I don’t want advice on my spelling or typos. But the point is, that there is a huge difference between giving advice, and just putting others down. Even if you may not mean to put someone down, it can still come off that way, if you don’t communicate in a positive way.
I, myself, know that feeling of wanting to give someone a good advice, and we should never be afraid of that, at the end of the day, this is how we can learn from each other. But sometimes, just sometimes, consider the context. First of all, if a person shares a blog post on Facebook, they might be more interested in discussing the topic of the blog post rather than the fact that they make spelling mistakes. Unless they ask explicitly for opinions, maybe hold back a little bit, maybe now is not the time or place to point out some spelling errors the person made? But if you still feel, you can give solid advice, then think about how you formulate your advice. Attacking another person is just hurtful to them. Also, people tend not to listen to your advice, if you just attack and hurt them. And then it is all just a waste of time.
That person, who commented on my post, could have written something in terms of: “I really enjoyed reading your post, and I think you have a good point. [This way, we start off friendly, and the receiver, me, will sense this person have my best interest at heart]. However reading your blog, I see you make some typos and some spelling errors, I just want to point this out to you, as you speak about learning, and I thought it could be a helpful advice, so maybe you are aware of this. But I really think you are doing great, and it is cool of you to practice your language skills on your blog. If you want to, I can show you some of the mistakes, so that you will be able to correct them in the future”.
This is just an example, but this is how you get people to listen to you. By being nice, and by talking to them with respect. This is especially important when we communicate on social media. Both as we are not able to see each others body language and facial expressions, but also as often we are strangers to each other. So it is important to really make sure, that the receiver of our advice, knows that we are just trying to be kind to them.
Make the internet safe
Do you remember when you went to school, and sometimes you would be afraid to raise your hand and talk, as you thought your answer to the teacher’s question might be wrong? What were you afraid of? Losing face? Other people laughing? This can be translated to social media, sometimes we are afraid of negative comments, and we shouldn’t be. We should be allowed to make mistakes. Let’s make the internet a safe place for all of us, this can be done by using kindness. Give advice, but be kind. Don’t scare people from sharing their work, this can hold them back from developing as a writer [or get educated about other topics]. Be the safe person, who defends someone under attack. This is how you communicate well, and how you can use your communications skills as something others can benefit from.
Thansk for reading my blog post – hope you didnt choke on all of my mistakes, typos and spelling errors (sorry my humor came back!). I would love it, if you left me a comment with your thoughts on this!
Also – feel free to share this post! I will send you amazing karma, glitter and rainbow dust if you do!