Monday, February 25, 2008

Open Comments, Insert Foot

Whoops. Made a "Comment Boo-boo" last night. A fabulous relative of mine had a funny blog about her kids and I made a comment joking about their intelligence.

In case you were wondering: I don't think her kids are in any way lacking in brain-power. Quite the opposite. Which she, of course, knew.

Apparently, she had friends and relatives who were not "getting" me and, after a flurry of emails/texts, she deleted the comment. I quickly made a public apology in her comments and vowed to watch my sarcastic-ness in the future.

I have to admit, I paused a minute before I pushed the GO button in the comments section. But I figured she (and anyone else) would know it was a joke and that I would never insult her children in public--or private. They're darling and sweet and funny and, yep, smart.

It's so hard to know.

In January, I posted a snarky, hopefully funny, comment on Paige's blog. And then completely stressed out about it for the next day. I read it to Ryan and he said, "oh, I don't know...it was a little harsh." So then I stressed more and apologized profusely, deleted the comment and worried she would be bugged at me at our upcoming weekend in California. Like it was 8th grade again.

Paige's reaction: "Are you kidding? I thought it was funny. In fact, I thought 'Wow, Jessica knows me well.' You could never offend me."

It's so hard in the world of black and white words...with no inflection, or eye contact, or a good-natured nudge-to-the-side to know if people understand what you mean as you type. My relative did, because we lived near each other and she knows who I am. Paige got it, for the same reason (plus she's also the Queen of Snarky)...but what about all the other people that I expose myself to, every day, in (let's be honest) way too lurid detail.

Do I sacrifice funny for safe? What is my measuring stick? Do you ever wonder if there's a whole multitude of readers that just don't get you? Yikes.

I'm nice. I promise. (Said with soulful, sincere eyes and a genuine smile, body language in every way reflecting honesty).

42 comments:

Paige said...

As the Queen (I can't believe you think that about me!), I actually think your comments are much nicer than others, because you just aren't really a sarcastic or mean person. In fact, you are more sensitive (gentle) than I'm used to, which is why I do try to watch it with you but we know that never works.

Therefore, perhaps you are worried about your comments because you would find them offensive? Of course I think, let 'er rip. If someone has a problem with it, hopefully they will say something so you could apologize, or even better, get over themselves.

We all know Andrea's comments the most nasty and smart, and therefore the best.

Jill said...

I have come to learn that you are a little sarcastic and am fine with it! Although...too much sarcasm isn't good, but I don't think you go overboard. If people know you, they get it. If people don't know you, like half of those readers, then of course they won't understand you. That was profound huh.
Anyways...think about who your audience is. Maybe comments should be more reserved, but your posts can be YOU because YOU are YOU.
Okay...I sound like a retard. I hope that made sense.
Anyways...that is a toughie because I love your comments and I want you to comment how you feel and not change it now because "someone" might take it wrong!
Good luck. I know you'll do the right thing (said with a wink and a nudge!)

Melinda said...

From the short time I knew you and just from reading your blog I can tell you are just a witty, nice, caring person and everyone needs a little sarcasm in their lives. I actually think it's interesting people would take a comment serious because who really goes and leaves truly mean comments on blogs. I haven't seen that happen yet. I figure if someone doesn't like you why are they reading your blog, let alone commenting. Anyway I hope you don't play it safe in your comments, as long as the blog author knows what you mean then you are good to go!

Celia Fae said...

I know what you mean. People can read comments any way they want to, and it is disconcerting to have words out in the great big world. People could take what you say out of context. Like Joe Smith.

I always think you are nice. Unless you're not. And then I'm happy.

Meg said...

You hit the nail on the head. Email and blog comments are hard sometimes to get across right? And mostly for the people who don't "know" you as you said.

I think you are hilarious. Which is why I keep reading and commenting on your blog!

aric & jess said...

People need to lighten up. Anyone who knows you well, knows that you are sarcastic and would never be hurtful and that you are a good person with a huge heart. So to the people who don't know you... don't sweat it. It's their loss.

All this coming from your equally witty, sarcastic, over the top friend who has probably offended my fair share of people without meaning to...

Kristin said...

Now I'm worried what I post. Ha Ha. I love what you come up with, I love your posts and comments I think you rock, and am just happy to have your comments sometime.

Lauren said...

Bless your heart...I am the same way. I recently snarked on Celia's blog that I thought that her husband and Gab's husband might be the same person. (because they have such similar interests, look a bit alike, and are out of town a lot) I said something about Gab and Celia needing to compare when their husbands are in town...

Anwyay, I stressed about it so much that I actually e-mailed Celia to apologize...

I am sorry that you had a bad experience...I think you are hilarious and don't come across as unkind.

You hag....see just kiddin'

Pineapple Princess said...

Words can say so much and so little.

I think that as far as your comments go, don't stress it. I'd watch more for the laugh-able spelling errors and left out words before you push the GO button. Not that you are a bad speller or word leaver outer or anything--yikes, are my wirds saying too much or too littelle?

Rochelleht said...

I think a lot of it depends on who leaves the comment. If you know a person, then it is easier to know how to take it. I'm sure you saw the anonymous comment on my blog yesterday. I just don't get anonymous comments. I wasn't offended. I just think it's funny that anyone cares enough to leave mean-spirited comments anonymously.

Abbie said...

Sounds very familiar. I always love your comments (HINT!). They make me laugh and I always know you're joking. But I totally know what you mean. It's a tricky thing in the cyberhood. Now I want to know who it was.

P.S. That title is great.

P.P.S. When are you moving to Dallas??

shauna said...

Oh my goodness, that happened to me. But it was a "reply all" on an email and I didn't know all of the recipients... I received several hate letters in return. It really hurt my feelings. I had no intentions to be offensive. Live and learn, eh?

Kara Jayne said...

I think your great! Very real in this cyber world. I KNOW I've offended people with my comments and there is not much I can to about it. I'm like Paige (not a sliver as funny and witty) but SO SO HARD TO OFFEND! I am only offended when it's obvious that what was intended. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comments and they always make me wish I was as good with words as you...and Celia...and Paige!

Shally said...

That happened to me the other day--long story short-- I had to re-comment (yes, that is a word :)) because I felt like I hurt feelings. I had to clear up what I was saying.

You are SO RIGHT that it is hard to relay your feelings in black and white...

So you know, I have never thought you were rude-- just funny.

Andrea, on the other hand...

Just kidding I LOVE ANDREA!!! :)

andrea said...

hmm. i want everyone to know i am hurt and offended by the implications in their comments. my shoulders are slumped, my look is dejected.
moving along, funny thing about lauren's comment, just the other day i told gab i thought her husband looked eerily identical to celia's.

for the record, i would feel badly if i knew i had actually offended someone. and i think you are very funny.

gab said...

I know exactly how you feel. I just commented on my sister-in-law's blog about a photo where her g's were showing. Totally kidding...but I felt bad about it all day.

I have always thought your comments were cute, funny and a little self-deprecating. Which I enjoy. Keep 'em comin...

And, yes...Celia's hub and mine are identical twins. Hot Hot Hot...or should I have written that?

Laurie said...

I get all your comments Jessica and I'm not offended.

It is more difficult to convey some emotions in black and white. With new people, I try to err on the side of caution. Also, I don't want them to think I'm a crazy stalker.

Penny said...

I recently heard (was it conference?) that if a person is offended when none was intended, she/he is a fool. And if they are offended when it was intended, they are still a fool. So, my advice: Keep the fun comments commin' (we all know you're nice) and don't worry about foolish people. (Picture me with a smile on my face, little chuckle, knudging with my elbow)

See, I think someone could be offended by that too...
I, of course, mean it in fun, just like we all do!

I'm with Paige... Let 'er rip!

martha corinna said...

Part of the problem is we often project our own feelings onto those we cannot identify in virtual relationships, and often those feelings have nothing to do with the person we are projecting upon. Another problem, at least for me, is how public the forum is. I feel the need to be very careful, or at least thoughtful, when what I have to say will be recorded for anyone and everyone to read on the world wide web. I just don't feel like it is a very safe environment to be understood.
Having said all of that, I have chosen my battles at times and have argued over things I feel passionate about (on the web) and have hated the feeling, so maybe I'm just a sissy.

Ilene said...

Ah, you need to send Paige or Andrea on over to your relative's blog to really get things spiced up!

I had a friend in Las Vegas blog about a party she threw. On the comments section I wrote "Um, I don't remember getting invited."

Her sister read that comment and called her up and was all worked up about the girl who didn't get invited to the party. Sheesh. If she only did some investigating work she would see from my blog that I live in Washington and that I am a witty young lass.

Wow, that was a lame story.

Elizabeth Caldwell said...

I think that some folks have really thin skin and they should be careful what they read....

I love reading and commenting on your blog, and I love that you read and comment on mine. Therfore, I promise to never, ever take offense to anything you say (not that I can imagine you ever being unkind) if you will promise to tolerate my bad spelling, unfinished or run on sentences, curt personality and sometimes odd ball responses.

ok?

Christie said...

Ah, the sarcastic comments.

My brother is the master of them, and for the longest time, my mother-in-law thought it was her son-in-law (also named Daniel) who was saying those things to me. She fretted and stewed about it for weeks before asking me why he (her son-in-law) would say such horrible things to me. I laughed and told her it was my brother.

I think it's fine to be sarcastic. I don't want only flowery, silky comments left to me. I'm a sarcastic person and write that way (or try to). I'd be sad if everyone just buttered me up because they were afraid to sound mean. Bring on the real stuff.

Jenibelle said...

It's too bad there isn't a "tone" button you can push when you send a comment. "Sarcastic" button, "Pissed" button, "Laughing hysterically while commenting" button. Somebody get to work on that!

I have chronic, all most fatal Foot-in-mouthitis. I think you're hysterical. I like thinking of myself as a little, cute, thin duck and just let the stuff roll off! I apologize if I ever offend up front.

Hollyween said...

I have to say that I ALWAYS love your comments!! People (especially those new to blog land) just sometimes don't know how to take comments. I left a comment on Christie's blog once about how she should drug up her kids so she could get a dog. DUH! I was totally kidding, OF COURSE! And she got a wickedly mean comment about how that person seriously hopes that I don't drug up my kids, yada yada. Oh boy. It's hard to take the tone of e-mails and blogs. That's why I like Jennibelle's ocmment so much because it's sooo true!

Lisa-Marie said...

It's a good thing I read the post before the comments. All the "let er rip," comments could have thrown me off!

Just be YOU! That's how we like ya!

Bridget said...

I know how you feel. It is hard to convey friendly teasing in a comment. I do appreciate ribbing, sarcasm and all manner of poking fun-ness. I have worried several times about it when its someone I haven't actually met in "real life." Can they tell I am just kidding?

Just for the record, your comments are great and so far you have yet to offend me or drive me away from your blog. It would take a lot.

Mique said...

You caused me some serious soul searching this morning. I talked to my sister forever about this. I asked her (since she's known me for her entire life) if my blog is accurate. If it's too positive. To negative? To sarcastic. For the record, she says it's accurate of who I am and maybe even more honest than I am in conversation (I treat blogging as a way to write what I'm really feeling- good or bad).
There are some blogs that I read of people I've known forever that I can actually hear them saying exactly what they wrote. But for people we don't actually know in real life, it's a challenge.
Truth be told, I think you are super witty and charming.
This post did make me do a self check though- do others think I am rude? I try not to be sarcastic with people that aren't sarcastic. But I love snarky comments myself. I'm with Stie- I don't always like to be buttered up- just most of the time. ;)
Thanks for bringing on a day of deep thoughts for me.
And in an effort to be more honest, I let out my biggest secret (really it's terrible) on my post today. I hope you'll still be my friend after.

The Seeley Family said...

I get in the same kind of trouble face-to-face (undoubtedly, more than I'll ever know!) I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I've spent replaying conversations in my mind and praying they were not taken "wrong" and then making the phone calls the next day "just to be sure". Yes, my sarcasm has gotten me in trouble before, but not enough to make me stop!!

Erin said...

I once had sent an email meant for one person to the entire office. It was snarky at best. The intended recipient totally "got" me and thought it was funny. No harm, no foul. Not the case for about half of the others who received the email. Insert foot. I felt TERRIBLE. Same deal, I'd meant no harm but had managed to offend a few I think and make others uncomfortable. Arrgh. I curbed myself (a little) from that point on.

Flash to today. Still sarcastic. Still getting myself into trouble on occasion.

I heard an interesting discussion (on NPR?) about how the internet, text messaging, and other "instant" technology is totally changing the way our relationships with others evolve and the depth of those relationships. It was very thought provoking. It is hard to judge, hard to know, and hard to convey via something that is so...fleeting? So flat?

We also recently had a stake adult fireside where our Stake President talked about the dangers of sarcasm and the need for us to all "unplug". I could truly feel myself turning red through those parts of his talk. GUILTY!! :)

Anyways, I feel your pain. :) It's all hard to know. After that office experience, I've tried to (sort of) curb myself. I'm the first to admit that I'm not always successful.

Paige said...

wow. people have opinions on this. Love it.

Heather said...

One time my friend was bloggin about sacrament meeting and I posted a comment about how in the world did she get anything out of sacrament with that naughty, obnoxious, misbehaving family sitting in back of her.

Enter stream of hate remarks directed at me from other commenters.

Funny thing is I WAS the family that was sitting in back of her.

Testy Testy, no?

The MomBabe said...

I think you're super nice. But that's coming from a fairly sarcastic girl. (me, that is) Anyways, what I'm trying to say is, don't change the way you blog or comment or anything. You're great and dag gummit, people like you.

Denae said...

It's so true! Comments are hard to read sometimes... I mean you just don't know what people really mean sometimes. I have never thought you comments are mean or anything like that though. In fact, I really don't offend easily so I haven't had much problem with this, but I know some people could have issues with this.

Karen said...

Wow! your comments have sparked a lot of comments. People really have a lot to say about this subject. I agree...it's hard to get people to know what you're thinking when you type, or meaning to say. I have often thought twice after hitting the 'publish' button myself...

Elizabeth Caldwell said...

This whole thing makes me re-visit my thoughts about people who choose to be offended on other people's behalf... I could comment more but I think maybe I will make a blog entry/rant about it ;)

rubberbandgirl said...

As if worrying about saying the wrong thing about people to their faces isn't hard enough...I enjoy your snarkiness. But I guess I know you a little bit better than a relative's relative, not much, but COME ON!

TexasTwinsTwice said...

i always worry about how stuff comes across in black & white--ESPECIALLY if someone doesn't know me in real life. i'm not near as witty with words tho--so usually it's pretty clear. (hopefully?)

julie said...

Ooh. I cringed when I read this because I know I offended someone and totally did not mean to. I never apologized, because it seemed awkward. Now I wish I had! She had made a comment about her husband and I commented that I would kill him for her. WHAT?! Where did that come from?! I am still horrified that I wrote that. When I said it in my head it sounded very different...!

Tammy said...

Jessica you are one of the nicest people ever, no one would ever think you were snarky or mean!! I make sassy comments all the time and the blog readers probably think I am mean, horrible person.....or everyone can realize its all in good fun and not think twice!

Amy said...

Found your blog on Stacys and I just had to comment on this post. I SO HAVE BEEN THERE! I have a good sense of humor I think and I can be funny quickly....and this usually requires a little sarcasm thrown in...and I totally got into a situation with my best friends HUSBAND reading a comment that I left and blasting me for being too harsh and me calling my friend to apoligize and her yelling at him because she totally knows me and got the joke. The lesson for me being that even when the person who the comment is directed at knows you are joking that is not always enough. And in written form when multiple people are reading I edit myself a little more.
ANYWAYS! Just my $.02 have a WONDERFUL day!

Carie said...

The other day in spin class - it came out that a sarcastic (or as ryan might say snarky) comment I had made MONTHS ago was taken completely the wrong way. It's a funny story I have no time to write about here.

I cleared it all up. Now everyone thinks I'm fantastic again.

It is hard to be SO clever and intelligent. Other people don't always appreciate our sense of humor.

J'net said...

You and Jax write SO much alike!
I am finally catching up on the blog inputs produced while
I was leisurily cruising on the open ocean, deciding
what NEXT food I was going to entertain my stomach with... I am glad you like this blog thing, 'cuz letters
would NEVER be as fun! And with ALL the comments you gather on EACH post, you could NEVER keep up with return mail and postage would cost your kids food budget!!!!
As far as that "wit" as you so charmingly allude to...
you are "blessed" with it from the "Sherrill" side of your blood! They boast, goad and bellow about it at all cost, as IF it was something that makes 'em "smarter"
or "better" than the last witt-e-sist!
You just gotta love 'em for it!!!
But then I had to chuckle, 'cuz you and Jax, "call it as it's dealt" or speak openly while others are blushing! It's too fun to watch! Just don't STOP with the comments, stop with the stressing! They
pay "writers" big bucks to keep the evening TV viewers on their couch with this stuff! It may become your "stay at home" job to write for one of those "shows" someday! You've always been too cute to be a mean girl anyways!
From your adoring aunt!!!