Opinion or Praise?

Recently, I received in inbox from a business colleague.   She was expressing that she was a bit disappointed in the lack of participation that I was offering in her online community.  She shared that one of the reasons she added me to her group was because she thought that I would be a valuable player who would help those in her community to “Know Better. Do Better. Live Better” in an attempt to show sarcasm by using my business tag line.

She further stated that she didn’t feel as though I was supporting her community as much as I could and that it was a but hurtful because of all people who would be happy for her, she was certain, it would be me.

I read her email several times before responding because I wanted to be ensure that I didn’t misread or misinterpret her communication to me.

Here was my response:  My Dear Friend, I’m sorry that you feel that I am not being supportive in your community.  I am certainly happy for you and extremely proud of the community that you have built. 

However, I think you may be a little confused about why you added me to your community.  I am humbled and honored that you added me because “you thought I would be a valuable player”.  However, as you so eloquently stated, “this is your community”…and therefore not my responsibility  to be a “valuable player”.  Additionally, the questions and conversations that I choose to engage in are those that appear to be from ernest information seekers, not sponges who are too lazy to Google, the questions asked in the group,  like “how do I obtain a business license” and lastly, giving business advice is something that I do for a living – – to my clients – – i.e. my community. 

So it’s not at all that I am not supporting you.  I am all for what you do, but since you and I have a similar service offering, I purposely choose NOT to take your customers from you.

I then told her that most of the people who ask questions in her community really aren’t looking for an honest opinion, but rather praise.  Every other post is “what do you think about?” Then they get upset because someone offers a constructive critique or ways to improve.  The best one’s are the one’s who get mad and say, “well this is the way God gave it to me, so I’m keeping it.”.  So I have to wonder why they are seeking opinions on something that was a direct download for God.

Those who aren’t looking for praise and only interested in advertising.  When people ask a question and the response is, “I can help you with that, just inbox me for more details”, it’s someone who is simply in the group to make a quick buck off of your efforts. 

So please note, that while I appreciate that you find my opinion valuable, it’s not free.  Not to you, or your community. 

It took a few days for her to respond, but she did none-the-less.  She simply said, “Wow Stephanie,  Now I have to go back and revamp the rules of engagement”.  Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.  Your blunt honesty always challenges me to do greater works.

This article was written by

Stephanie C. Harper, PHR, CCP, CHRM is a certified human resources professional by trade with more than 20 years experience in the field. An author, career expert, speaker and radio host she is also the Founder and Publisher of CAREER Magazine. She has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Greater Diversity News, Trinity Broadcasting Network and the Steve Harvey TV Show (to name a few).

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