You want feedback? Let me tell you what I think about you and your blogging…

I for one, like feedback.  I’m a big boy.  I’m tough.  I can take it. 

I can take “feedback” or criticism, whatever you want to call it and not let it bother me… Too much.

In learning how to take feedback I have also learned how and when to give feedback.  It’s an art, I tell you and let me state the obvious when I tell you that there are not too many people who can take feedback, and even fewer who can deliver it without the intent on offending or making the receiver feel inferior.

I actually started this post quite a while ago as a personal reflection post but I didn’t like the feel of the post, so I shelved it in my draft folder and have re-visited it several times to re-write it and alter its focus dramatically.  It’s not a post about me so much as it is a reflection about my management style and they way I like to interact with others – staff and children. 

But let’s be clear here folks, this is in no way a “how to manage your spouse” post because we all know our wives are always right!  Happy wife = happy life.

So how does one learn to give effective and timely feedback?  By asking for and hearing lots of it over one’s life.  good and bad, true and untrue,,, I’ve heard it all.  In that time I learned the hard way that being a wise-ass or inappropriate in pretty much every situation makes it hard to make / keep friends and after a while people start talking about you in that light, they tend to start avoiding you.  That feedback is the untold kind, and you have to pick up on that too, or you’re in big trouble. (ahem, Linus!)

For me, the defining moment when I was in high-school, and I said something really stupid to my friends which resulted in them all looking at me like I just hurt a kitten.  It was at that moment when it became perfectly clear to me that I had to be accountable for what comes out of my mouth at all times and that I had offended or worse, hurt, the ones I care for and to that, my success would be in my ability to filter the crap that comes out of my mouth, and to learn to not take myself too seriously. 

I taught myself to cover up in situations where I was a complete ass by pretending I had said that comment on purpose, as a joke, when in fact I was learning boundaries, and in learning from my missteps, I made sure to never do it again.  Not repeating the same embarrassing situation to the same person was critical to me being taken seriously.  I wanted to be taken seriously and that motivated me to watch my mouth.

So back on to feedback.  I never wanted to hear feedback from anyone growing up because it was always bad.  I was immature, goofy, inappropriate, juvenile… I heard it all.  But as I figured out how to act around people, I wanted to know how I was doing.  Kind of like, “how is my driving”. 

The more I asked, the more I was able to improve and right now, I’m pretty damn strategic and I know what to say, when to say and how to address it.  It was hard but I’ve done it.  I should write a book, eh?  I have some great stories I cannot post online!

So now, I crave feedback.  All kinds of it.  I want the bad stuff more than I want the good stuff.  I want to be told I’m an asshole, or that I’ve pissed someone off because I’ve spent a lot of time being so good that every now and then my inner-bitch comes out and I let it all hang out.  I’m sorry.  I need to know.  If I’ve annoyed you, or pissed you off, it’s either a gigantic misunderstanding or it was done on purpose.  If you want to know, just ask me,  I’ll tell you.

When I started blogging, my wife had been doing it for a year and she is such a fantastic writer.  When I read her posts, I could replay the situation in my head as if it were happening then and there.  I’m not so blessed with that skill and when people found out we were married they were shocked at how well she wrote and how poorly I did.  I knew it.  It was true and quite funny actually.  So I started re-reading my posts, spell-checking it and taking general care for my posts.  All it took was some feedback. 

So when I get comments to my blog (or about my blog or blogging in general), like this one coming up, I tend to smile and want to keep it.  I’m proud of getting stuff like this.  Not only is it creative, but it’s downright funny.  True too…

Comment 1: “This is pointless, why am I even reading it and not enjoying ? I should learn to spend my time better.”

Comment 2:  “I realize you were young and inexperienced at the time, but in hindsight you should have chosen your parents more wisely.”

I also remember a “friend” of mine hoping to tell me what he truly thought about me by posting a comment in a much older post – figuring I would never see it – which went something like this;

“You are the most arrogant piece of shit that I have ever met.”

Yes.  Yes, I was… to you.  If you had only asked me, I would have told you myself.

Or the friend who told me he hates my blog – never reads it and things bloggers – and myself – are narcacisstic.  I thought about it, blogged about it and dismissed it.  Do we all not take pride in what we do?  .

If you want to post a comment about how you really feel, do it.  Please don’t make yourself anonymous, however, it’s better to identify yourself so I know what I’m facing.  You will feel better and I will know who I don’t have to worry about being nice to.  It’s okay.  I’m always civil. 

What is useless to be is the guy who comments on a pro-Rob Ford post with, “You’re a fucking idiot”.

Why thank you, was my thought.  Some left-wing primate made his way through my article and took the time to comment.  I replied back thanking him for the comment, that I was not an idiot – at least I didn’t think I was – and I merely presented the facts as they seemed to me and if he didn’t agree with my view he could have explained why and educated me instead of calling me names.  Good thing he didn’t know I was overweight like the Ford’s (although no where near the same size as them) because he would have said, “You’re a fucking idiot… and you’re fat”.

So if you take anything from this article it should be that when you’re giving feedback use some diplomacy.  give some positive feedback, and some negative.  If you blast the negative, you’re getting negative back right at you.  If you have something to say, just say it but keep in mind how it will be perceived by others, mainly the author of the post, but also take into consideration that it’s possible that many other have thought and felt the way you have about an article but by having the character to post that comment you may attract more readers, and you may be voicing the opinions of other as well. 

Good comments beget good comments.  When people take the time to comment on posts knowing their thoughts and opinions are going to stay in the comment section and not be deleted (except in cases of malicious attacks) then they will take the time to comment more and more.  If you delete them or jam garbage down their throats then you can rest assure they will not be coming back.

So please… comment what you feel.  Not only on my posts but on others   What is the worst things someone can do?  send you an email or post a reply to your comment calling you names?  Been there, done that.  It’s going to take a lot more than being called names to get me to back off my opinions.

Have any of you received really harsh comments or feedback?  Feel free to share here.

9 responses

  1. No one has been mean to me yet.

    After reading yours, I’m kind of afraid someone eventually will.

    Still, I thought your article was well written, you made an excellent point, and all the words were spelled right, so I’m going to give it two thumbs up!!

  2. [...] You want feedback? Let me tell you what I think about you and your blogging… (urbandaddy.wordpress.com) [...]

  3. I liked this post. And, I know I rarely comments on posts, but that’s because I read quickly first thing, and rarely comment anywhere.
    Since you asked, though.
    I will honestly tell you that sometimes I completely disagree with you when it comes to politics. Having said that, there have been numerous times I have read a post, had a totally different point of view, and thought that you would be a very interesting person to debate politics with. I’ve never thought of you as an asshole.
    And, actually, that kind of leads to why I don’t comment here specifically. I will often read something, and I don’t have time to write a comment that actually shares my opinion – and I think simply putting “I disagree” does injustice to what you are saying.
    Hmmm. Maybe I’ll do that.
    And, since I seem to have lots of time to comment today, I’ll add this about your blog. I have also often thought that of all the blogs I read, you and your wife, would be people that I think I’d enjoy immensely in real life.
    So there ya go.
    My thoughts.
    Unless you’d prefer I say something mean :)

    Oh – as for mean blog comments. Yep. I get them. There was awhile when I mentioned going for drinks after work, and some random person basically accused me of being an alcoholic mom who never spends time with her kids. It bugged me, but you know. If you know me and you think it i will give it some value. If you’re a random internet stranger and you say it well … you don’t know me. And if you know me and you post that anonymously, well okay then. That’s just weird.

  4. After reading your post I feel that if it would be me it means your feeling is the same feelings of other also. It’s a quality in you.

  5. I think the impression I got over the years was a tacit sense of duplicity and a gradual separation of who you are at your core. I think the child in us often yearns to rise up and back to the more simple times, and that’s the Warren I miss.

  6. Zuk – First off, thank you for taking the time to post a comment. I was surprised to say the least since you unfriended me on Facebook but kept my sister there. I thought that was odd, but you were not the first to have done that either. I once had a girlfriend tell me what she was going to miss most about dating me was my family, not me. I get that. I wandered through life looking for who I wanted to be and what was going to make me comfortable in my own skin and when I finally found it I did become arrogant, and my patience for games dwindled as I’m sure you found too when you had kids.

    I was no longer looking for male friends who I could learn from and use to help myself grow and experience life through, but instead I started to live life and as the childrne stockpiled and I found myself as an adult, as a businessman and a father my free time became less and less and eventually I found I had less and less time to do stuff just for me but that was okay because I was finally happy in all other aspects of my life.

    That comment you hide in my blog hurt. It was not nice but it was a passive agressive way for you to send me a message. That message was received loud and clear. I’m not angry, nor disappointed. It’s a part of life.

    I hope you are doing well, and I hope your family is happy and healthy too.

    Dilip – Thank you for the comment. You are 100% correct. It is a quality!

    Laural – I know, it’s hard when you put yourself out there and someone fires back a comment which catches you off guard, but that’s a choice I make when I post about people (as in the above comment) and I am prepared for feedback which I may or may not like.

    Having someone label me like what happened to you would irritate the crap out of me, and I would react differently knowing they were ready, I cannot lie. I wouldn’t pay too much credence to it over time but it would change me.

    As for my wife and I… Yeah, we’re two cool urban parents who are low-stress and fun to hang around with. :) Sure we’re tired all the time, but I like the slight anonimity that comes with blogging because it allows people to formulate an image of you before actually meeting you.

    Oh, and finally about the politics… I’m sorry. Maybe we should talk this through one day and I can help you see the “right” way. LOL.

    Kidding!

  7. Laural Dawn – I’m not sure I knew that about your blog, but I can see where there are huge challenges having a public blog as it does lead people you know to draw conclusions about you, and yes, I do agree that you have to be careful in what you wrote and how you formulate your opinion because you represent a lot of different interests; yourself, your family, your employer, etc.

    I got burned big time by trying to keep my blog private about 8 years ago and when it got out there were lots of threats and allegations which is why I finally came out and said this is me and here is my opinion also keeping in mind I’m building a brand and representing my self and my family.

    I feel for you because I recall around the time when your posts slowed down and the tone changed from something you wanted to do and enjoyed doing to something which required a lot of effort and no longer became fun.

    Is everything okay now? Everyone has come to grips with your blogging?

  8. @Urban Daddy – in response to your comment back. I think for me – my challenge is that I didn’t create my blog anonymously (I tried one but it didn’t work) – and so my problem isn’t so much with anonymous commenters or responding to them – it’s that so many people in my day to day life know of my blog – and read it, that I stuggle. For instance, my mom will read and weigh-in, and in respect to that I don’t sware, etc.
    So, i think it’s a limitations thing. Also a lot of work people read it – or know of it – so I’m really careful. Especially around political issues.
    As for politics … first of all. I have to confess that as I’ve gotten older and really started paying taxes, making more money, etc., a lot of my political views have changed. That surprised me about myself. And I’m up for discussing politics – I don’t think you’d offend that easily. LOL I live in the suburbs – so I don’t have a strong opinion on Rob Ford :)

  9. Urban Daddy – i honestly really just stopped blogging – and though i do it now it’s through a different filter. I’m okay with that. When i started it wasn’t about personal brand or anything, it was just to write. And, I think I developed a voice and I have used it offline a lot more.
    As well, it was fine for me, in my opinion, to write about my Matt in particular when he was little and temper tantrums were a way of life, etc. When he got diagnosed with ADHD and we were dealing with the outcomes of that it became a whole different thing – and his story – which I didn’t want to tell in a public forum.
    What I have learned is people have some strong opinions, and they form judgements very quickly.
    I’d like to start an anoymous blog. But right now … starting over and pushing it sounds so exhausting. My time is better spent reading others’ blogs and going to yoga classes :)

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