Sometimes blogging can be a very intimate and very personal experience. There are things we share here that would never be uttered aloud to anyone, not those we love or those we don’t.
Those posts are raw, authentic and revealing.
Sometimes when I read them I wonder about what words I should use in my comment. I wonder how to tell someone I appreciated what they said in a way that won’t be offensive, irritating or hurtful because what I just read was so powerful it left me sitting in silence.
When I switch seats and write a post like that it is never because I want comments but because the story I told is too much for me to remain silent about. It is too strong, too real and too raw so I put the words down on paper and the pressure is eased.
Most of the time I don’t care if anyone comments because that wasn’t why I wrote the post but every now and then the silence becomes deafening and I wonder if I am working alone in a vacuum.
Why Are You Crying?
When I was a junior in college I spent the night with a classmate. We didn’t know each other well. Since it was a night class I would sometimes walk her to her car but aside from the few minutes it took to go from the classroom to the car we hadn’t said much to each other.
I don’t remember what led to my going home with her that night. I think we might have suggested studying for a quiz, but my memory is a bit fuzzy there.
What I do remember is we got really friendly and that somewhere in the midst of it I realized she wasn’t looking at me. I asked her if she was ok and she said she was fine and things resumed.
Not long afterwards our activities finished and I lay next to her in shock because she was in tears. She wasn’t sobbing but she crying hard enough for me to be confused because there had been no sign of it.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because you are not him, please go.”
I got dressed, walked out of the room and went home trying to figure out what I had done wrong.
Later that week I asked a couple of my female friends if they could help explain what had happened. They both looked at me as if I was an idiot and said I was the rebound guy.
When I said I felt sort of used they rolled their eyes at me but that is a story for a different time.
What Happens When People Don’t Comment On Our Blogs?
Sometimes when I think about why people do or do not comment I remember that night with my classmate and think about what it means to be ready to put ourselves out there.
I think about the importance to be willing to put yourself out there and how it can be scary to do so. It is not easy toÂ bare your soul in a post and share the soft underbelly of your psyche.
When you share the private and personal you open yourself up to criticism from people who don’t know you and who might not have the ‘proper context’ for understanding what it is you wrote.
They don’t know you.
They aren’t familiar with your sense of humor. They don’t always recognize when you are serious or when you are playing and sometimes their comments reflect that.
In concept it makes me ask why publish a post that you fear will lead to your getting blasted. Why publish something that opens you up to comments you might not like.
It could be easier not to to open yourself up but then again sometimes that tale you haven’t told is breaking your heart and busting your chops. Sometimes it is so eager to break Â free you can feel it chipping away at your teeth.
When you want to share it because you want to be heard it can be hard not to get a comment or two so the question you have to ask and answer yourself is what is more important to you.
SomeÂ Weeks Later
“Jack, I owe you an apology. Our night was a mistake. You didn’t do anything wrong, it was me.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I just nodded my head.
“I have good news. I got back together with my boyfriend. If you see us talking please don’t say anything to him.”
I nodded my head again.
“Don’t worry, I can’t think of any cool way to say I slept with your girlfriend and made her cry.”
Ok, I didn’t really say that but I was thinking it.
Twenty-five years later I look back andÂ think about how much I ended up learning from that one moment in time.
Because I can look at it as being when I really started to understand how good intentions could go awry and how people remember how you make them feel more than they remember what you say.
That is a lesson that has equal application personally and professionally.