Monday, 6 February 2012

F is for Flattery - Friko's Personal and Private Alphabet Game

Carl Spitzweg
Der Ewige Hochzeiter

"Flattery will get you nowhere!"

Altogether now: "Oh yes, it will"

Idly flicking through a pile of advertising in the post I noticed how often I was being brown-nosed: "a busy woman like you", or  "as a fashionable and stylish person, you already know",  or "aware of your intelligent and perceptive grasp of ". etc. I was being encouraged to invest, buy clothes and a new political magazine, in that order. Did it work? No, because I have no current interest in doing any of these things; had I had, however, I might have hesitated for a moment before depositing the material in the recycling bin.

Occasionally, I too am guilty of flattery, sincere flattery, of course. Who has not admired their boss for his /her brilliance, has not told a friend how wonderful s/he looks, praised a child to get it to do more of what we want it to do. Manipulation and flattery are closely allied. There is a man I know who likes nothing better than to have his own opinion of himself confirmed; whenever we meet, which is not often, I gladly oblige, if only to save myself a grumpy and difficult conversation. You should see his face light up when I admire his latest opus!

All of you reading this blog are, by definition, intelligent, bright, excellent writers, aware of the latest developments in politics and current affairs, and wonderful people. I also know that you lead busy lives, are competent and highly efficient, kind and considerate towards others and paragons of virtue. Would you read me otherwise?

Blogging comments are usually complimentary, often excessively so. I had a recent jolt to my easy acceptance of blogging praise: a blog I had not come across before, started a blog-criticism me-me, all reviewers to remain anonymous. Every participant had to review two participating blogs and the comments would then be emailed to the blog-owners. Well, anonymity made a big difference! Both reviewers of my blog found it boring, there were too many subjects and many of the posts were far too long. One said she couldn't even be bothered to read the post because of its length and the other one, slightly kinder, wondered which kind of reader I might be aiming for. The two blogs I was given to review were being written by "I-am-a-mother-and-wife" bloggers, had lots of recipes, household tips and pictures of pretty babies. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, so I said only kind things about the appearance and content of the blogs, but also said that I would probably not become a follower. This me-me was quite obviously not aimed at me, but it was an eye-opener at any rate. Anonymity guarantees honesty.

Flattery makes us happy, even when we suspect that we are being flattered. We all like to feel better about ourselves and prefer to mix with people who have a flattering opinion of us. As adults, we tend to drop somebody who always criticises our work, our appearance, our tastes, our outlook. The most successful and long-lived TV chat show hosts are those who ask only the most unctuous questions. Celebrities wallow in the stuff and, given half a chance, so do the rest of us.

Actually, flattery might be the reason why I spend my time blogging rather than getting on with seriously writing my memoir: not only do I find blogging easier, it also provides complimentary feedback now, instead of at some unspecified time in the future, or more probably, never. Instant gratification for me as a result of your flattery: you're confirming that  "I'm not too bad, really, am I?"


  1. i think for the most part...we are overly complimentary on blogs...on some level we all realise we are just people getting along in the world...i really do like it honest and occasionally write something on people being real if they dont like it...and i have a few i know will tell me when they dont...i realise that no one can be on their game and write a winning post every time...

  2. No, really, you're not too bad at all. And neither am I. The same goes for so many others out there who put themselves 'out there' for all and sundry to approve, criticise or delete.
    I took part in that blog critique too and was once dismissed as a 'garden blogger' and like you, told that my posts were too long. Ah well - it takes all kinds, and not all of them like our style.

  3. Oh, that was too wonderful, Friko (and I mean it!) I find it's easy not to flatter insincerely if a blogpost doesn't resonate. Just don't comment! But, of course, a no- comment doesn't necessarily mean an implicit unflattering comment. That way paranoia lies.

    I'm having to come to terms with negative feedback on my Counselling course at the moment, and it's really not to bad once you've reached a certain age.

    And Friko — please get back to your autobiog and stop reading this drivel, for Christ's sake!

  4. What refreshing honesty! Although I can't help wondering why people won't put their names to their opinions...

  5. But what did you really learn from that exercise, Friko? Just that two random people out of the multitude who write and read blogs, didn't happen to find your blog to their taste. I'm sure there are lots of people who would feel the same about my blog or anyone else's.

    We read the blogs we enjoy and when a particular post strikes a chord with us we comment. If a blog doesn't appeal to me, I don't read it, and if a post says nothing to me I don't comment. I'm not sure what is gained by writing negative, critical comments, either by the blog owner or the commenter, so I don't bother.

    The comments I enjoy most are those that engage with something I have written and bring something of the commenter's own experience and varied background to the conversation.

  6. I agree with Perpetua. I read and write usually complimentary comments on posts, but it's because I know how much it means to ME to know someone resonated with my thoughts. Negative comments seem only to be designed to be hurtful. What's the point in that? I don't always comment because I don't know what I could say that would mean anything to the writer.

    I love to hear of the experience of others. Your blog, and I am not saying it just to compliment you, is intelligent and varied. Just what I look for in a post...

  7. What a boring world it would be if we all liked - or disliked - the same things.
    I find the glimpses you give us of your world and thoughts genuinely interesting. Yes, some of your posts are a lot longer than the blog gurus recommend, but I always read them to the end because they are so well written. Some are informative, some are funny, some are moving, and they're all thought-provoking.
    I don't always comment though, because someone else has usually said what I was thinking and I don't want you to think I'm just flattering you!

  8. One thing about your blog is that you are never controversial. You shy away from politics and religion, the two most controversial things on earth. So, you receive mostly complementary comments.
    I like to sometimes wander into dangerous territory and as a result often get blasted.
    But the one thing I know we both have in common is the fun of simply writing and interacting with people all over the world. It's great fun and I decided some time ago not to worry about who may or may not like my blog so long as it pleases me. But it is very nice when it pleases others as well, as yours so often does.

  9. I much prefer honesty, which is among the reasons I enjoy your blog. To risk slavish flattery, you write intelligent commentary on your world and The World with large doses of humor and common sense and compassion. In short, you're interesting. Thank you.

  10. I think there is a difference between flattery and encouragement, and I am all for encouragement. If I like something, I am quick to say so. If I don't like something, I keep my mouth firmly shut. If I really think something is the shits, I tell my husband about it in the dark just before we go to sleep.

    On blogs, I look for something to like and mention it. Like this, I read your intro on my sidebar first thing as I opened my page, and laughed over my cereal. Thanks. :)

  11. Good things to think about here. I don't read blogs necessarily to flatter people, but because I find they have started a conversation worth contributing to in some way -- whether I agree or disagree with might have been written. There is always a respectful way of disagreeing and if I don't respect a blogger well enough I don't comment let alone follow.

  12. I choose to read blogs that resonate with me in some way, often because I enjoy the photography, I like the writing style, or I can learn something. If I take the time to read, I also try to comment thoughtfully - just to say "beautiful" or "nice" to lure someone to my own blog seems dishonest. I occasionally have visitors who I think cut and paste their comments to get through as many blogs as possible without reading any of them.

  13. I like your blog very much which is, of course, why I read it. I doubt those who critiqued it would like mine any better and they don't have to. I don't write for others. I write what I have to say. I'm not much for mommy blogs either since my child rearing days are long behind me.

  14. A blogger has to be a really, really, good writer for readers to come back if they are also acerbic. Brute honesty only works when the writer writes so well, you actually enjoy being criticized. I am guessing that is why we flatter more than critique. My readership has gone up and down over the years and my writing honesty and focus have also gone up and down. I did send my blog into one of the sites that critique blogs a few years ago and I got a pretty good review from the bald-headed guy with the tattoo. I cannot tell you how happy that made me! But he was an excellent writer and wrote a readable critique. I also do not respond well to flattery as I am a born cynic and I do not say things that are nice unless I REALLY believe in what I am saying. I have always been a fan of the "If you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all" club.

  15. I like to read your blog because it makes me feel the better for being in the company of your readers and commentators. In other words I feel alive.

  16. Well, I like you and your blog. Of course we want to feel like we are connecting with other. What other reason are we on this journey for? But the fact is, we can't connect with everyone. That would be weird. If someone doesn't agree with what I write they don't have to read it. Or they can comment an tell me their opinion and I can take it or leave it.

  17. Hello:
    In our limited blogging experience we would say that anonymity definitely does not guarantee honesty. What it does seem to do is to provide a 'cover' for someone to just be downright unpleasant or to make a personal attack. This seems to us to be completely wrong.

    For us, our blog is a personal way of expressing our views on whatever takes our fancy at the time. We write primarily for ourselves but are delighted to develop a dialogue with readers who are kind enough to comment and interact with the content of the post. We treat the blogs of others as we should wish to be treated ourselves. If we have something to say or add to the post, then we comment. If we have nothing to say or nothing pleasant to say or are busy away from the computer, then we do not comment. If we feel a rapport with the writer of the blog, we become a Follower.

    Your many faithful Followers [among whose happy number we are pleased to include ourselves] who read you with interest, who comment regularly and who are inspired and uplifted by your wonderfully eclectic posts are testimony to your success a a blogger, as a writer and, also, as an extremely intelligent observer of life.

  18. I don't think that anonymity guarantees honesty. I'd almost say that anonymity guarantees (am I the only one who finds that difficult words to type?) nastiness. Personally, if I don't have anything nice to say about someone's blog or post, I'd rather say nothing. You just can't like everybody. Neither in Blogworld, nor in the real world. But that's okay. No reason to not be polite about it.

    I do like you though. You're the best ;-)

  19. I also took part in the meme. One critic said she had no idea what I was talking about and didn't know the background. Well, no, she/he wouldn't. Blogging is a conversation of the virtual sort, in which I reveal a little of myself and my readers can come back to discover more, or not.

    I think of your blog in the same way - a conversation over a new medium. You give us snippets of your life which we devour avidly, wondering how Gardener is faring, how your garden blooms, what's going on in the pub, and how much progress you've made on your memoir.

    There are millions of blogs and bloggers and each has a niche. Appealing to everyone is impossible and to attempt it, foolish.

    I like your blog and the persona behind it - you. That's not flattery, that's just the way it is.

  20. You're right , of course . Flattery , when used with small children , is Positive Feedback .

    But the truth can be seen as Negative Feedback .... best used with caution .

  21. weisst du, ich habe mir all diese fragen auch gestellt und ich habe mich gefragt, ob einige leute mich besuchen würden, auch, wenn ich sie nicht besuchen würde. mmh, wer findet das eigentlich wirklich gut, was ich schreibe und kommen die leute, weil sie mich mögen oder weil ich etwas schreibe, was sie interessiert und und und.
    doch eigentlich ist es ja egal. man hat irgendeine bedeutung und tu tust deinem besucher in irgendeiner hinsicht gut und was gibt es, was schöner wäre?! und wenn man dann noch mit interssanten, intelligenten und vielleicht auch noch tiefen menschen zu tun hat, ist das doch ein gutes zeichen für einen selbst, nicht?!
    dir ganz liebe grüsse! gestern war ich in paris, habe beethoven gehört...!
    bis bald und alles gute!

  22. I was raised with that old adage--if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all. ;) But I also was taught to be honest. So I don't say it if I don't mean it.
    I know that my blog is probably very boring to a whole lot of people, but rather than they make nasty comments I am happy they just don't come back. I think that's the thing about blogs. If you don't like them you don't have to read them. If you have nothing positive to say you don't have to comment. There are blogs out there that get tons of negative feedback and love to start arguments, etc. I just don't go near them.

  23. Each to each as we pass, becomes the other's looking glass. C.W. Mills

    After an unpleasant morning with my daughter and granddaughters who love my blogs some days and hated what I wrote yesterday, I don't need any more "honest feedback." Like shopping, if you don't like something, vote with your pocketbook and walk away.

    Who is perfect? Different blogs appeal to different people. I stop reading and commenting on blogs I don't like. That's not completely true, I sometimes read blogs I disagree with just to keep an open mind.

    Also, it is perfectly OK to take a compliment one in a while.

  24. This is something I think about a lot: the unspoken protocol for commenting on blogs. It must nearly always be light and complimentary. If you're commenting on a poem or story it cannot be a critique, especially if you were less than pleased by what they wrote. This system has a lot going for it. I, for example, do not want critiques. If I did, I'd ask for them, go to school, or join a private writers' group. However, I very much do want to know what a person thinks/feels about what I wrote. That's not the same as a critique. That's you giving me your honest reaction to what I wrote. I wonder if bloggers ever consider this distinction? Just because I don't want you to break down the nuts and bolts of what I wrote does not mean I don't want to know what you think of it. Bloggers are far too afraid to offend.

    But I'm guilty of it too. If I don't have something positive to say, I usually don't say anything at all. I have found that writers often don' take kindly to an honest reaction. So it's a problem, isn't it?

  25. Dear Friko,
    Perpetua pretty well summed up my whole approach to blogs with the following words: "The comments I enjoy most are those that engage with something I have written and bring something of the commenter's own experience and varied background to the conversation."

    I so enjoy the dialogue that came occur when readers respond to a posting with their own experiences and their own feelings and thoughts. That opens up the dialogue.

    As to your blog. The reason I keep returning is because it is erudite and goads me to think more deeply about a plethora of topics. Your mind, your experiences, your writing, your dry wit always draw me into whatever you have to say. Thank you for that. It's a pleasure both to mind and senses to read your writing.


  26. Oh, I wanted to add something else. It kind of turns my stomach when I see bloggers slathering each other with excessive sugar. Yes, there are times when you genuinely want to give someone love. But it's just so excessive with some, a disease.

  27. Giving praise where praise is due is how I look at it. On the other hand false praise is like shovelling marmalade over someone's head so that they have to wade through it. In all honesty, Friko, I love reading your blog and if I was an anonymous reviewer I would say exactly the same thing.

  28. If I like a blog I follow it; if not, I don't. If I see something positive to comment about I do; If not, I don't. I don't bother with negative comments - why be mean?
    I don't like mommy blogs per se - I find that many of them showcase the kids' bad behaviour under the guise of being 'cute'. It bothers me...but I don't comment to tell them that their kids are spoiled brats. What would that accomplish?Sometimes I don't comment at a favourite blog, even if I do have something good to say, because someone else has already said it, often better. I try to keep my comments honest - if I gush, it means I really do like something.

  29. I doubt your blog would have much appeal to mommy bloggers. It WOULD be boring - and have too many subjects. They are only interested in what THEY are interested in and you don't have any babies.

    You were too kind to the mommy bloggers.

    I think 2 reviews - esp not with people with similar interests is rather unfair. If you had everyone on the list look at every other blog with a clicky box available that the subject matter wasn't your cup of tea, then the reviews would be only of people that might honestly consider reading your blog anyway. Can you imagine getting a reviewer for Field and Stream having a say over Vogue?

  30. You pass muster with flying colours just keep doing what you are doing and you'll be alright :-).

  31. I'm a blog reader because I learn many new things and I find that writers come with all sorts of woes and prides. That is the part I enjoy. Reading slowly and carefully can get you to deeper meanings. Even if there are few comments by readers the point of the post is to be one's self, a unique person with an idea to be expressed.
    While praise is nice,criticism for writers should led to discussions. We need more of that in comments.

  32. I don't think most of us set out to flatter each other. If we decide to follow someone's writing and comment occasionally, it's most likely because we genuinely like the blogger and what we are discovering on their site. Perhaps the blogosphere does not contain the rancor and bitterness that one finds in the off-line world, but I, for one, find that a bit refreshing.

  33. My blogs tend to be a bit cynical since I tend to stray into political areas. I rarely write about Mexico however since I am actually afraid. Bloggers get murdered here.

    I have to balance my personae however when I comment on blogs. I try to be honest, not to flirt, try to be informative and helpful, and real. If I see something that I do not like much I simply do not write. I sometimes comment negatively on blogs and even get personal but only under my full name. I dislike racism a great deal and hate usually prompts me to say something.

    I am always honest.

  34. I believe I have thrown a little encomium your way, but I meant it.

  35. I love your blog
    you are an interesting woman
    who says it like it is-- to her
    and I think it is often fun
    other honest
    and writing talent...oh yes
    so keep blogging away

  36. As you know you were the first blog I followed back in 2009 (you told me how to do it!) So for me you are my friend and I read your posts as I would go and visit a friend. Some of your posts I really like, some so-so, but I always find them interesting anyway and well written. I am pleased that my blog was not critiqued as, for sure, they would have said my posts are way too long – I jump from subjects to subjects and find it hard to be personal and show my feelings (also because I know family reads it as well as past co-workers.) It is easier for me to be more personal when I comment on blogs. The good thing is that there are so many blogs that if one blog is not to your taste, then look at another.

  37. It is so nice to get the kind feedback. I think blogging has really helped me keep writing ;). It's also amazing reading about the experiences of others, as if I can visit so many fantastic people all in the same day.

    I had people anonymously review my blog. Their comments were helpful, but they did sting a bit. Most of them were complaints about the appearance of my blog. I fixed everything mentioned even if it did take me a week lol

  38. It's a conundrum. I like what Mark and the Hattatts have said. I think that's what I try to do as well, though I'm never sure if I succeed or not.

    I have no wish to critique, though, on the other hand, I don't wish to be dishonest. Often times, though I may like some posts more or less than others, what I'm really applauding is the project--what the writer is after, and what I really want to do is encourage it along, bumps and all.

    For myself, though I assume commenters on my posts accentuate the positive, I'll admit to being a bit grateful for that. It's hard to put yourself out there, and tough to keep going if a lot of darts are thrown your way. I feel I can glean from what writers say (or keep silent about) whether what I'm writing lands or not, and at the same time I feel supported and encouraged to try things out. It's such an important function of blogs--to try things out--and so many of us are our own worst critics that it's a fine thing to have others who write honestly, but not brutally, in response to what we write.

    So now I've really blathered on, and I will stop!

  39. With all these people leaping to defend you, Friko, it's obvious we read your blog because it is always interesting, and because you do write extremely well.
    I have a couple of rules-of-thumb I use in commenting on the writing of others. I don't proofread anyone else's work unless I think they know better and have just made a typographical error or have had a senior moment. If they obviously never learned the rules of English grammar, I ignore their mistakes, because it isn't up to me to teach them, and I'll only hurt their feelings.
    I enjoy a reading a range of bloggers, but don't seek out mommy-bloggers because I'm not a mother. If I read one and enjoy it, I say so.
    There are some blogs to which I look forward avidly, and yours is one, but I'm sure you know that.

  40. I have no one on my blog list that I do not enjoy reading...some more than others simply because of content. As my blog is a piecemeal attempt at a memoir for my grandchildren, I have been known to have quite lengthy posts. I am gratified if one comments but I am not offended if I get none. Everyone has different interests.

  41. I agree with all your other commenters. I'd rather have no readers than those who set out to be unpleasant and definitely some fall into that category.

  42. Oh dear. If I read mean comments like that I might not ever write another post.

    Other random thoughts:
    We like what we like.
    Most of the flattery I dish out is closely aligned with attempts at manipulation.

  43. i love to give and receive kind, heartfelt compliments . . . steven

  44. 43 comments in under 24 hours and 404 (known) followers. How bad and boring can you be?

    Please note. We dog bloggers believe in positive reinforcement and encouragement. It comes from trying to train our dogs.

  45. I was brought up to the adage "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". If I don't like something I've read, I don't comment. Simple. I couldn't be rude when someone has taken the time and trouble to write something.

    We love your blog. That's why we're here. :)

  46. I rarely read through all of your comments because there are so many, but today I did, and noticed a couple of things.

    One is that we too often oppose positive comments and honest comments, as though honesty necessarily is negative. In fact, the sugary-sweet positive comment can be completely dishonest, and a negative comment (particularly if it is a response to content and comes with a rationale) can be refreshingly honest.

    An observation re: your last paragraph. The desire for feedback isn't necessarily the same as a desire for flattery. I've been lucky enough to publish both on my blog and in magazines. I prefer the blog, because of the feedback. My magazine articles simply dropped into the abyss. I got my paychecks, but I've never found anyone who's read them, let alone received a comment.

    I write to be read, after all, and consider each post the beginning of a conversation. From my perspective, the value of a few succinct and interesting comments far outweighs any paycheck in the world. If I were thirty years old and starting to write, I might worry more about getting paid in dollars. Today, at 65, I'll take my payment in other forms.

  47. All I can say is that you are so right in your opinion of your readers. It makes us all feel a little better about ourselves whether it is true or not. So thanks for the flattery!

  48. When I was actively writing for the local newspaper people would criticize me for either being too sweet or too real (you can please some of the people some of the time, etc.... ), My response invariably was "Put the newspaper down if you don't like what you're reading."

    Honest doesn't have to mean rude. Appreciation doesn't have to be sappy. If we were having a face-to-face conversation, you and I, my responses would be no different than any comment I might make here in writing. And if I didn't like what I was reading here, I would stop reading (fat chance of that happening). What site was that anyhow, that me-me thing?

  49. Honesty does perhaps tend to give feedback that is more trustworthy, or does it? I'm not sure anonymity always guarantees honesty.

    As a college instructor/professor, I used dread the evaluations that would come in from students with whom I had been honest when evaluating or commenting on written assignments or lesson plans. When they did not improve and the grade remained low, I knew they would use their anonymity to get back at me at evaluation time.

    Could we say that when comments are backed up with honest to goodness support on why the praise is deserved then there is more than flattery going on?

    I love your blog because you always have something to say. I don't count words, but I don't think you waste your words either.

    Great post!

  50. Blogging hones our writing skills and the readers come and go. When I am political the feathers start to fly a little and I like that, opposing points of view brought to the table kind of thing.
    I am always pleased, however, when a long vanished reader of mine returns.
    Flattery, obviously, has me panting.

  51. You hit the nail on the head.

    And I love flattery as much as the next person.

    I also hope that not too many of us would lose sleep over comments that are's just a blog.

  52. On principle, of course, I have to disagree with anyone who assesses the quality of writing based on its length. That's sheer reader laziness--not at all a reflection of anything genuine.

    This comment-exchange exercise sounds like it was worth a go. It also sounds a fair bit like end-of-term student evaluations that I am required to collect; not surprisingly, there is a correlation between the grade a student thinks he/she is receiving and the positivity of the comments. Anyhow, it's all suspect and valid, at the same time.

    I can tell you this: while I think most blog comments fall into the arena of pap (everyone wants to be nice, and don't we want them to be nice?), I cannot say this is true of you. Your comments patently refuse to pander. Sometimes you take my breath away because you have edges I hadn't expected.

    And that's okay. I have too much breath anyhow. It's good to have it caught.

  53. Dear Friko, I have read only half through all your thoughtful comments but I like them all, and they speak for the quality of your blog that each one gives sincere consideration to what you said. Me, I like your blog very much and always come here with pleasure, even if I don`t comment.

  54. My first priority in blogging is to (hopefully) be entertaining. I had my comments turned off for several years. I think I prefer comments on now simply because I get to meet people and have fun chatting. My second priority in blogging is to capture what I believe are significant events in my life, my feelings, moments of poetry, insight (?), inventions, discoveries but mostly all the humor. So it is a grand diary shared with the world.

  55. hi Friko .. gosh this blog is great - fun and witty, with lots of intelligent thought and loads of incredible information. Would hate it if you weren't around .. & I'm not flattering - just stating my ideas.

    I hate some blogs that are just boring diaries of their lives .. I like some character, some inventiveness and definitely uniqueness ..

    Cheers and keep on, keep on blogging! Hilary

  56. I think you've hit on somethere here, Friko.

    In general, I think bloggers and followers tend to be kind because they want the same returned, but I sometimes wonder: why no criticism?

    In real life, I can be quite the flatterer. My father was a salesman, and I grew up with his lessons in my head, that it hurts nothign -- and perhaps will help -- to tell someone nice about themselves, especially if it is true.


    p.s. You look very nice today. :-) My friend Mary and I say that to each other all the time: You look very nice. Of course, when we DON'T, we still say it, only then, we laugh afterwards. :-)

  57. Most people not only dislike non-positive comments, they fear them. The blogosphere is being transformed into a sterile medium where non-positive comments are most always taken as an insult. Who wants to be deemed 'boring' or 'lewd' or even 'repulsive', when in fact that may be the author's objective, for whatever unknown reasons? No, negative comments are written on a personal level, and to reach this level takes trust and open-mindedness. Of course you may know my favorite saying, "If you don;t have anything to say, let's hear it." Personally, I crave honest, non-positive responses in lieu of silence - the ultimate insult.

  58. "If you don't have anything good to say, let's hear it." PLEASE!

  59. One can tell the truth without being cruel, though it is sometimes difficult. A couple of years ago, a woman made a negative comment about my blog. She was promptly criticized by two other blog friends. After they had defended me, that woman was shamed into never returning to my blog. No loss, believe me.

  60. A really intersting post-I feel that we tend to have enough hassle in our working lives so to do anything other than praise blogs seems a little harsh, unless the person has asked for constructive criticism. That said, I do fancy tracking down the criticism meme - finger in the vice time!

    Chrissy at Manchester a photo a day at Mancunian Wave

  61. All right, this is the truth. I saw the title of this post on my sidebar and thought 'when is that woman going to run out of ideas??'. This, in case you aren't sure, was an entirely complimentary reaction, from one whose idea bin has only a couple of scraps in it.
    Also, I only read Jocelyn's comment, because I always read hers. She can be counted on to be genuine, if not bluntly honest. You, on the other hand, are all three of those things, and why I keep on coming back.
    I dislike and distrust my taste for compliments, and feel better having (mostly) weaned myself off them. It was a bit like eating too much cake.

    What was your immediate, instinctive reaction to those negative comments, by the way??

  62. So many blogs are quite idiosyncratic and will only appeal to a select group of articulate, intelligent, witty others -- one reason I read yours.

  63. Ah, Friko, I loved this post! "...aware of the latest developments in politics and current affairs..." Well not all of us bloggers, but I try my best.

    You right about such varied things, and so different from what a young mother might write about, so I think to critique blogs that are entirely unlike our own is a rather difficult task. I had my blog critiqued by a really scary lot some time ago. It was when I first started blogging and needed some flattery. I got good constructive criticism, along with a little flattery. And it pushed me to really look at my writing and where I was headed with my blog.

    Keep writing what you love! Who cares if it can't be categorized! Who wants to be pigeonholed anyway? Certainly not a creative genius! ;)

  64. Very thought provoking! I hadn't stopped to consider why I log in to my own blog so often--to see the comments (or lack there of), of course! ;-) I've learned many things in my 4 years of blogging, and what's very true is that you can't please everyone. I, for one, am a fan of yours because of the length of your stories, because of your clever and beautiful subject matter and how honest and true it rings. I don't always comment (got a new job and am swamped)--but I read all the same.

  65. You hit a lot of good points in this one! And I think you nailed the blogging community in that we seek approval, sometimes. And there are lots of ways to get it. Of course, constructive criticism when asked for can be helpful and desired, but sometimes you just want to put it out there and hope people will like it. I've found if they like it, they do -- and you look at the words and think, "Well, maybe that's a bit over the top," when I hear something nice, but then I also think, "But I needed that today" And don't you find that people who don't want to say something at worst neutral don't comment at all? I don't mean in terms of agreeing or disagreeing, but simply liking or not liking!

    I love that blog feedback -- and I love giving it. After all, I wouldn't visit if I didn't get something rich in return!

  66. I have just spent a pleasant few minutes reading all your most recent posts Mdm Friko.

    I don't come and sit in your garden or by your kitchen stove nearly as often as I would like to, perhaps I am trying to diet my delights? (If that makes any sense.)

    I think the discipline of finding 13 blessings is useful for those of us who get rather gloomy - useful to remind ourselves that there is much to be joyful in. And your poem for Valentine's Day is a perfect example of finding joy in the gift of having breakfast with the one you love.

    I also agree with you that the (generally) positive, more or less instant, feedback we get from blogging is quite seductive and much more gratifying than slogging away at a difficult piece of writing that may never be seen by human eyes.

    Thanks for keeping at it Friko, for the mad paddling, the photos, the musings and the little snippets of your life.

    Somewhere in your list of blessings I would have to include your talent and great heart.

    Best wishes Isabel
    (or if you prefer, Anon)


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.