What do You Do When You’re “Chastised”?

Admit it. We’ve all had it happen.
We’re in a club, or on a forum, or even just dealing with people in general, and we do something “wrong”. Oh, we might not think it’s wrong. We might feel justified or have a million reasons why it happened, but the fact is that we get trounced.
Example: I found a new hair dresser in Fortuna. I was excited. After all, a woman’s hair dresser can be one of the most important relationships she has. First appointment went great. Next appointment? I had to cancel. Then, another cancellation. Then, I couldn’t show up and couldn’t call through (essentially a “no show”) and finally, I completely spaced the last one. Now, regardless of my reasons, it still cost that profession time and energy to stand around waiting for my ass. So when I called apologizing, she informed me I had to pay in advance to make another appointment.
I felt like a piece of shit. I wanted to be indignant. But immediately, I put myself in her shoes. If I was the client and she didn’t show when I had an appointment? I’d find another hairdresser! The fact that she was willing to give me another chance was pretty big of her.
But still.
It was embarrassing. Part of me never wanted to go back, just blow it off. But part of me realized that I had to own up to what I’d done and accept responsibility. Yeah, I finally went in Thursday and left a check. No, it wasn’t easy, but I’d rather clean up my mess than just walk away from it.
But what about when it’s not fair? That’s happened lots of times. Most of the time, it’s hugely important for me to see the other person’s point of view. I’ve said things online that I thought were “no big deal” but actually made a close friend of mine very uncomfortable. Now, it wouldn’t have bothered ME, but I’m a different kind of person. I had to think about how SHE felt. Yeah, I felt chastised and had some posts on the forum deleted, but I’d rather get a little bruising to the ego than hurt someone I care about.
Online shit is so complicated. Words fly. People see a reaction INSTANTLY on Twitter and Facebook. I notice I’m very, very cautious about putting a reaction to things on Twitter. Because even deleting the Tweet doesn’t save you.
Yesterday, for example, the words I would have used for some of the line edits I received on “MARKED FOR PLEASURE” would have made your ears burn. I was pissed, frustrated, generally bitchy about them. Yet, none of them were unreasonable. In the cold light of morning (and with the edits finished and away) I realize that line editor made the damn book BETTER.
But what if I’d gotten on Twitter and blasted him/her? What if I had posted on Divas how I hated this line editor? And what if that line editor (whose name we aren’t told) saw that?
How would I feel this morning?
For me, anger is an emotion that I don’t like to “give legs to”. In other words, I desperately try NOT to take action on my anger. I’ll write at it. Talk about it to a trusted friend. But I don’t want to blast someone online. Especially when my feelings may change the next day.
What do you do?



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14 responses to “What do You Do When You’re “Chastised”?

  1. It depends on the circumstances. Generally, I speak my mind, although not with aggression or spite – and I’d never try to rustle up any kind of campaign against anyone.

    But if, say, I had just then been treated unfairly because I’m a member of a minority group, I might exclaim in shock and anger. I’m no hothead and I agree that a hasty tweet in such circumstances isn’t the wisest course of action, but who among us acts wisely every time? I know I haven’t always. 🙂

    Your words are wise, Jennifer. Thank you.

    • Jen

      It isn’t easy, I know, to be a Diva Dude. I’m not a member of a minority group BUT I tend to be a lot looser with my language, my filters and my TMI radar. This gets me into trouble.
      I’ve noticed I Tweet cautiously. I think it’s because of the whole “#queryfail” think. Remember that? I saw an awful lot of responses there that changed my opinion about some.

  2. You’re, like, my new hero just for looking at things from someone else’s POV. I agree it’s not good to let fly on the internet. Better to not say anything than to regret it later. If the situation is uber bad, I call my crit partner and vent. She must really love me for that. ^_^

    • Jen

      I call my crit partner too, Cora.
      I learned early on, when I was in Al-Anon, the old saying “Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me.”
      That’s helped me try and see things from someone else’s POV.

  3. I try never to respond in anger. I vent online sometimes (mostly over crap IRL), but only in a general “I hate people” kinda way. Never directed at anyone in particular. If I want to say something mean, I’ll type the email/twitter and then move away from the computer. An hour later, it’s not so hard to refrain from pressing ‘send’.

    And, like the saying goes, admitting you’re wrong is just proving you’re smarter today than you were yesterday.

    • Jen

      I’ve written blog posts, emails and several posts on Divas that have never been posted.
      Write, delete, write, delete. Click away.
      I do that a lot. And I’m grateful for it.

  4. This topic is even more important than some might realize in light of an agent blog that I read not too long ago. It was a list of 7 things that will get an author rejected. No. 5 on the list was online behavior. The agent said that she googles the author’s name, and if she sees where they whine a lot about the publishing process or have a tendency to become involved in online flame wars, she might pass them up regardless of how good their writing is. Hmm? Not, that’s something to think about.

    • Jen

      Really? Wow! I didn’t realize agents paid that much attention.
      I wonder if my “Just Sayin'” blogs would fit under the “online flame wars” thing?

  5. I wish I could remember the link. Someone posted it on Twitter. Of course, it might just be that particular agent who feels this way and not necessarily all agents will do this. I just thought it was something to think about before posting too much online.

  6. Rob

    If something I want to write about makes me angry, I’ll hold off on posting it for about twenty-four hours. It takes me that long to gather my thoughts so I can write something that doesn’t sound like teenage angst.

    On the other hand, I always blog under the assumption I’m going to piss off someone if I write what’s in my soul. After all, it’s MY blog and people are free to come and go as they please.

    Do what you will, Jen. That’s what I like about you. 🙂

  7. Interesting topic, I think we’ve all been in that situation before, and know how it feels from both sides.
    It doesn’t make it any easier.

    One thing I’ve discovered with online chatter is people will quite often misinterpret the tone, which makes things twice as difficult.

    • Jen

      Yes, absolutely. AND I think my sense of humor gets me in HUGE trouble.
      I like to joke around, but when I do it online, I have to be careful because there IS no tone.
      One time, I had someone PM me because I’d said something equivalent to “Shut. Up.”
      Which the tone in my head was similar to Julie Andrew’s “Shut. Up.” in The Princess Diaries II. And which a person on the forum took to mean I was telling her to zip it.
      Yeah, lack of tone is sooooooo frustrating online sometimes.

  8. I just swallow it up and let it burn inside of me for decades until I die an early death from a bleeding ulcer.

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