I will assume that anyone commenting on a followed blog, or a Facebook page, or a tweet, means well. Almost all do. And let me tell you, sending thoughts out there and not getting comments is a very lonely thing. So they are not only welcome but wanted and appreciated.
But there are the well-meaning ones that manage to be remarkably unhelpful. Remarkable because they mean well. I’m not referring to the few that do not mean well, the trolls, or the ones coming out of folks who just got bad news and think misery loves company is a social commandment.
I have been the unlucky recipient of two of the examples below. But most come from others, friends and acquaintances, who either shared their pain with me or I was there to witness it. Even as they said nothing in retort, it was painfully obvious this was a backhanded compliment.
“You never age!”
“You’re a miracle of preservation”
“How do you manage to stay so young looking?”
Nice, but what they really say, and in a public forum, (like commenting on new Facebook profile picture) is that you are in fact old. Thanks.
“Nice haircut. When will you grow your hair back?”
“I love what you did with your hair. I’ll send you my stylist’s number. You’ll love her.”
“Looks great. Is it Nice and Easy?”
Lovely, but what they really say is that your hair has suffered a misfortune in incompetent hands.
“I loved, just loved, your other book. When will you write another one like that one?”
“I got your book a year ago!” (No other comment. Yup, that’s it.)
“Your book is good for people interested in the subject.”
Sounds positive, but what they are really saying is they can’t recommend it, and need to post a public warning to that effect.
And then there are these doozies. If you’ve ever been in the vicinity of such utterances, you could feel the silent hissing:
“You look wonderful! Are you pregnant?” (Never a good idea to say this, especially to a man.)
“We’ve got to have you over. Maybe next May when our garden is blooming.” (Said in early June.)
“It’s nice that you write for children. Have you thought of writing a book for real people?”
This last one is one of only two that I actually received myself, and from my father. Ouch. Not telling which of the others was also given to me.
Okay, good people. Let’s not do any of that.