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Writing Something Negative And Still Being Positive

Posted by on Apr 28, 2011

Last week a friend of mine went to a local restaurant for lunch. It turned out to be a horrible experience, as I wrote about it on my local area blog. That post, and previous posts about local stuff that has bothered me here and there, got an interesting reaction.

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Some people wrote to say they agreed with what I had to say. Some wrote to say they didn’t know if it was good that I outed a local business in that fashion. Some who wanted to share wrote on the blog, while others wrote me directly; one wrote me on Facebook. For those that didn’t believe I should do it, I was asked why I was being so negative about it all.

I found that to be an interesting take on the affair. It’s not unique, obviously, but it was definitely interesting. I have a few thoughts on the subject, and these thoughts kind of relate back to blogging. Let me have my say, then tell me what you think.

The first thought is that one can talk about something they didn’t like and still be positive about it. I went into that restaurant with high hopes. I left feeling very disappointed, but I can’t say that I was angry. I was disappointed, and I think someone at the restaurant should have made things good, but I wasn’t angry. But I felt that with everything that went on it deserved to be written about, so I did.

My second thought went to a post Beverly Mahone wrote last week titled Bad Mouthing Others Creates Unwanted Publicity, where she talked about a guy who wasn’t happy with services he said he didn’t receive and outed the person online. She wasn’t sure it was fair; I decided it was absolutely fair. One of the other commenters said it might not be fair because the other person couldn’t defend herself. I said she could defend herself by writing in her own blog or, better yet, addressing the issue with her former client in a more professional way and diffusing the entire thing.

My third thought is this belief that when one is normally positive and is in a positive mindset that one should just forget things and move on with life. To that degree I’d have to say it “depends”. If the worst thing that happened was that someone was rude, I might have let it go. But this was a major fail for more than one reason, and the fact that my friend tried to give them the opportunity to make it good and was rebuffed, and that the incident could have been intentionally personal, was enough for me to write about it. I wasn’t mad then, I wasn’t mad when I wrote the post. I just tell the stories as they are.

And see, that’s the thing about being a blogger. Overall it doesn’t matter what one writes about as long as its the truth. One can decide to be angry if that’s what suits them and if it’s how one feels then by all means do it. Or one can decide to capture the story as it played out, then let the chips fall where they may. After all, I’ve talked about the concept of being controversial and how some people may or may not be ready for it. Truth will always win out, as it did with my Finish Line post. In that instance I was mad and not even close to positive. 🙂

Do you believe that you personally can write about a negative instance and still be positive overall? Or are you someone who’d rather let those types of things go and move on with life? By the way, if you’d like to see something, here’s a list of 1001 Tolerations that people will put up with instead of standing up for themselves. It’s a pdf so just right-click and download it. Oh yeah, it’s free.

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Well well well Mitch… Looks like we were kind of on the same wave length with our posts. Guess you know what my answer is.

I think I went about it very nicely saying that I was disappointed with the training community I’m involved in at this moment but I didn’t want to bash the creator. I’ve gotten a lot out of it but hopefully these recent complaints, and I’m not the only one, have helped him move in a better direction and actually repair some of these problems. At least I would hope that’s the case. Time will tell though.

I am all with being honest and the good thing about blogging is that this is your opinion and you have a right to voice your opinions in your post. I can’t fault people who won’t stand up for themselves, I just don’t happen to be one of them. I’ll always speak my mind, good or bad.

Enjoyed reading this one and I’m in agreement with you. Stand up people for what you believe is right. Just be true to yourself.


April 28th, 2011 | 2:51 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Adrienna; glad to see you here. Yeah, I’m not one to defer when something irks me, but I always hope I can keep a bit of decorum when I do fuss. And I understand why some people would rather get by than stand up for themselves; just not my style.

April 28th, 2011 | 4:07 PM

It’s difficult, Mitch – for me, at any rate. My moods tend to dictate what I write and sometimes I have to catch myself and stop myself from writing something I might later regret and, believe me, in the past I have regretted things I’ve written!

Myself, I draw the line at writing stuff about people that they wouldn’t write themselves and particularly online. That said, a business that’s in the public eye and that is supposed to serve people, should be taken to task if they do something wrong.

Could I write something negative and be positive? No, because if it truly is negative, then I’m probably in a depressed or angry frame of mind and am the last person to know how to be positive – that’s why stepping away from things and giving some thought to them is often a very good idea.

And am I the sort of person who would rather let things go and move on with life? Again, sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not. I don’t know about you, or about other people, Mitch, but me – I’ve pretty complex, I can’t pin myself down to one response over another – it so totally depends on circumstances.

I don’t suppose this has been of any help to you at all, oh well…

April 28th, 2011 | 7:31 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Val, not looking for help or answers specifically; just opinions and how different people are with things like this. For the most part I’m probably like you in that when I’m irritated, I’ll write about irritating things. But I’ve found that, because of how I’ve lived my life, I can write about irritating things without being irritated and I can write about happy things without necessarily being happy. I’ve always thought that ability helped make me a good manager in that I never took out any of my feelings on my employees, since they had nothing to do with it (most of the time lol).

April 28th, 2011 | 9:38 PM

PS. How do you or your friend know that other restaurant staff don’t do exactly the same unhygienic thing to your food? You don’t, because most of the time you don’t see it. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Oh, and d’you realise how many flies and bugs get into your food via the fields they’re grown it?

April 28th, 2011 | 7:34 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Val, for me, since I don’t eat vegetables or fruit, I don’t worry about the bugs and such. Then again, I also don’t like touching my food most of the time, before or after it’s cooked, so I’m sure there’s some connection.

April 28th, 2011 | 9:39 PM

I’m like Val here; my moods tend to dictate how I write something, and I have to catch myself every once in a while.

But for the most part, being negative isn’t a crime. In some instances, being negative is actually part of our social responsibility if we’re going to be self-respecting bloggers. We can’t just say, “Oh, it was nice,” while biting our tongue when what we really wanted to say was, “Y’know, that sucked.”

Even if it is merely leaving an establishment disappointed, focusing only on the (few) good things and completely glossing over the negative doesn’t serve anyone. What about those people who would read your review, be misled, and then have their own disappointing (or worse) experience? Now, who are they going to be disappointed in: the place they went, or you because they trusted in your review?

Not many people these days put much value in the weight of someone’s reputation or word. I, for one, still do.


April 28th, 2011 | 8:20 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Well Delena, lucky for me I didn’t gloss over any of the bad stuff from that restaurant. I told it straight, as it happened, and even provided proof of what happened. Yet, as I said, I wasn’t mad at any point when I was writing the post, and I wasn’t mad when I was there. I was grossly disappointed, though. Now, if it had happened to me it’s possible that my feeling might have been different, but it wasn’t. Do I think anyone will be bothered by what I wrote? Only the people who have said they like the restaurant, but I didn’t care since my experience was much different than theirs.

April 28th, 2011 | 9:46 PM

Hi Mitch

I don’t really do controversial but will comment if the controversial post is something I feel strongly about.

However, it also depends how it is presented. Have been to a few blogs where writers have just bashed a person’s personality and I didn’t like that. Not long after saw them doing it again and decided not the type of blog I want to visit.

But I have also seen posts well-written and honest with a review of a product and been grateful to the blog owner for warning about a product that I may have thought of buying. However, even then some commenters turned abusive which just revealed to me the type of person they are.

Honestly written well can turn into a positive post, but often doesn’t as the negativity seems to be what will be focused on.

Patricia Perth Australia

April 28th, 2011 | 10:44 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

I can understand some of that, Pat. I know I’ve gone both ways here and there on this blog, but for the most part I keep things down the middle. In the case I was talking about I wrote it straight, it was a negative review, yet I wasn’t mad when I wrote it. Obviously you’ve seen other posts when something’s irritated me so much you could probably feel the anger in the writing. In this case I was feeling positive while writing a bad review, and I was wondering how many other people could do such a thing. Seems like, based on the responses, no one else can do it. lol

April 28th, 2011 | 11:54 PM

We all have the right to an opinion, even if it’s positive or negative. As a blogger you can write what you want on your blog, because it’s yours, but the best thing that you can do is to try to be objective. Practically you are offering your audience a review, and even if it’s negative it still needs to meet the guidelines of a review.

April 29th, 2011 | 5:58 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I fully agree Mia, and that’s what I believe I did with that one review on my other blog. That’s probably how folks who review some movies are; heck, I did that as well back in November with my review of Skyline. Horrible movie, gave it a negative review, yet I wasn’t upset while writing it one bit.

April 29th, 2011 | 11:10 PM

Hey Mitch,

In as much as people tend to shy away from unwanted publicity, I believe that sometimes calling a spade a shade and not calling it a big spoon is certainly the way to go.

Sometimes back a blogging friend of mine wrote a review about a very popular online system and while I dont call it bashing, a couple of people did judging by the comments.

But i appreciated her comments because they were sincere and genuine and really brought out the demerits of the system, which alot of people just coming into it do not know.

So yes I agree with you totally, Mitch!

Thanks for sharing!


April 29th, 2011 | 3:44 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Tosin. I remember a post by Brankica, another blogger, was critical of something and she told it like it was. I didn’t sense anger in what she wrote, just big disappointment. Some people didn’t like it but it was honest and accurate and I think everyone else appreciated it a lot. Maybe we’re talking about the same person. 🙂

April 29th, 2011 | 11:14 PM

It is possible, I usually use this often, but always offer a radical solution of problem when I write critique.

April 29th, 2011 | 10:45 PM

First of all, thanks for the shout out on my blog post. I have written a few posts regarding bad customer service and I definitely think sometimes it’s warranted. Not everyone checks the Better Business Bureau for ratings but they might be more inclined to read the post of a friend or someone in the area about a place they’re interested in.

I think social media makes you much more vulnerable as a business owner or whatever. If you do people wrong, don’t expect them to just take it lying down. Social Media gives everybody a voice.

My last blog post: The Impact of Social Media on Baby Boomers

April 30th, 2011 | 1:08 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Great stuff Bev, and you know I fully agree with you on this point. Gone are the days when most of us will just “take it”, and if one knows how to really work social media, it can become a very dangerous and quickly equaling thing. Yet, I still believe that we can sometimes write these things that are negative against someone or something without necessarily having to be in a negative mindset at the time. Not always of course, but it can happen.

April 30th, 2011 | 8:50 PM

You weren’t totally negative, Mitch. You had some positive things to say, and that shows you were being candid and sincere. A restaurant that does the kind of business you describe owes its customers the quality they came for, waited for, and paid for. Everyone messes up now and then, but they should have fixed the problem and sent you away happy. You did your readers and the restaurant a service.

May 2nd, 2011 | 12:11 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Charles. I always at least try to be fair to a degree because overall I didn’t have a complaint about my own meal.

May 2nd, 2011 | 1:51 PM