I’ve been very fortunate over the past few years to have connected with writers from literally all over the world. Strong professional relationships have been established and maintained (when possible). Because of these strong bonds, it’s not uncommon for me to receive an email from somebody in a far-off location with a question, a request, or seeking a recommendation.
And more than a few times I’ve been the one sending an email of that nature.
Each of these relationships took time to develop. Nothing was instantaneous. Most likely it was the result of somebody responding to something one of us said on social media. Even if I don’t know the person, I’ll treat them with courtesy, respect, and the occasional self-deprecating joke.
Wouldn’t trade any of these connections for anything. Maintaining contact with other writers is good on several levels. It makes me feel like part of the community. It’s great to talk shop about our respective projects or our experiences. Doing all of this reminds me that there are LOTS of other people out there going through the same sorts of things.
Then there are those who feel the need to showcase their “expertise” by throwing shade on my question or comment.
“Well, that’s stupid”
“And you think this is a good idea because…?”
“I hate to tell you this, but that won’t work”
And the always-classic “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”
The only reason I’d give a second thought to this kind of reaction is if it were from somebody with whom I’ve established that professional relationship. They’d also say it in a more constructive manner with the intent to help, rather than denigrate.
Admittedly, there will always be somebody I don’t know or haven’t interacted with, but am connected with in some capacity. For the sake of this argument, that’s pretty much the equivalent of talking with a stranger. If you see the need to go negative under the guise of “telling it like it is”, why should I even pay attention to you? These sorts of reactions tend to guide me to the “Disconnect” or “Unfollow” button and give it a hearty click without a moment’s hesitation.
I’m always open to connecting and interacting with other writers, but respect is a two-way street. I’ll treat you the way I’d want to be treated, and hope you feel the same.
If not, well, it was nice knowing you and good luck with all your future endeavors.
Moral of the story: Be supportive, encouraging, and sympathetic when possible. Repeat.