Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Pointing Out My Typos and Errors

Earlier today, a comment was left on the post “Should I Reach Out To My Ex’s Estranged Wife?” that said this: “Wendy, she has a husband and you said ‘boyfriend.’ I really think that needs to be fixed… are you not proofreading these?”

I replied to that comment:

I usually proofread each column about four times. Twice on the day that I write it and twice on the day that I post it. I’m running this site by myself — currently without any income from it at all (though, of course I hope that changes in the near future). I read a large volume of emails each day; I brainstorm ideas for posts; I respond to emails that I don’t publish; and I do a host of other things behind the scenes that you probably aren’t aware of. I’ve also had some pretty major things pop up in my personal life in the last couple of weeks that have demanded an enormous amount of my attention and energy. I’m sorry if there’s occasionally a typo that I miss, and while I really appreciate it being brought to my attention so I can fix it, I wish it could be done in a way that is not so RUDE.

My point is this: I know I could use a copy editor, but that’s an expense I can’t afford right now, especially considering I have yet to make one cent from this site. As soon as I do start making a little money, hiring some help is at the top of my priority list. In the meantime, I genuinely appreciate people politely bringing to my attention typos or other errors that I can quickly fix (either in the comments or privately by email). I can tell the difference between someone being helpful and someone just being snarky, and if you fall into the latter camp, just STFU. You’re messing up the vibe around here.

77 comments… add one
  • avatar

    MissDre February 17, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Yay Wendy! Way to put ’em in their place 🙂 I’m sure many people will agree with me that we love your site and the work you do!

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  • avatar

    DMar February 17, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I totally agree with you Wendy! Thanks for all you do!

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle February 17, 2011, 3:24 pm

      what is up with so many people disliking your comment?

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    • avatar

      AnitaBath February 17, 2011, 4:19 pm

      I was wondering the same thing…

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      • avatar

        DMar February 17, 2011, 5:44 pm

        I have no idea!?

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  • beenice

    Savannah February 17, 2011, 2:42 pm

    Just ignore ’em!

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  • avatar

    Amber February 17, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Maybe it’s because I myself make so many typos myself, oops! But, I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to call someone out on something so small. Especially considering your responses are so well thought out and you obviously put so much time in to them. I think this site is awesome and thoroughly enjoy reading all the letters, responses and comments!

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  • avatar

    Desiree February 17, 2011, 2:46 pm

    For what it’s worth, I really feel like your writing is flourishing on this site. I enjoyed your columns on The Frisky, but here they seem to have an extra “spice.” I think it was a wonderful idea to launch this site, and I hope it becomes everything you want it to be (including income!). : )

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    • avatar

      Desiree February 17, 2011, 2:47 pm

      On a random note…is there a way to delete my own comments…?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 17, 2011, 2:48 pm

        I deleted for you!

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  • avatar

    Amanda February 17, 2011, 2:47 pm

    You’re doing an amazing job keeping us entertained on daily basis!!
    If people have an issue with a few typos once in a blue moon maybe they should create their own website and give wonderful, much needed advice to people from all walks of life all day long.Then we’ll see who has more typo’s: the blogger/journalist with a slew of credentials or the person with nothing better to do than point out easily readable typo’s.

    I heart ya Wendy 🙂

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  • Dear Wendy

    Wendy February 17, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Thanks, you guys. I DO really appreciate people pointing out my typos though, I swear; I just prefer them pointed out in a polite manner. I don’t know why I let this particular comment get to me. I guess because I make it a point to proofread multiple times, so being questioned whether I do at all kind of stung. Whatever, I’m hormonal this week. It happens.

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    • avatar

      Spark February 17, 2011, 9:09 pm

      I love that you interact so much with us on this site! It reminds us that you’re a person, too, not just some website.

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  • jammy

    jessielou February 17, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Whenever you decide to hire people, can it be me please?!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 3:11 pm

      As a copyeditor?

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      • jammy

        jessielou February 17, 2011, 5:15 pm

        As anything! I write my own blog, love writing, but I also have experiencing editing in my last assistant position. I live in New York and am between careers (I hate this job market) so it would fill a gap on the resume!
        Plus, I’m British so if any ex-pats or Europeans ask for advice, I can help out if I can!

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      • avatar

        thefierycrash February 17, 2011, 5:20 pm

        heh heh. the irony. 🙂

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      • jammy

        jessielou February 17, 2011, 8:40 pm

        editing my own fast typing while trying to cook dinner is much different from sitting down and properly editing.
        but thanks. it’s always charming to have mistakes pointed out in a snide way.

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  • avatar

    Leyahn February 17, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Ah Wendy, I’ll proof read for you!!!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 3:12 pm

      Please do!

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      • avatar

        Leyahn February 17, 2011, 4:07 pm

        Send it over
        LOL

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  • avatar

    AnitaBath February 17, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I think a lot of people that followed you over from TF also are having trouble grasping that it’s just you running this, there aren’t loads of other staff or other people to proofread your work (because, let’s face it, proofreading your own stuff is at times impossible). Not to mention, there was usually outrage over at TF anytime there was a typo someone didn’t catch, and then people would go insane, and I think being upset over those typos were more warranted.

    But yeah, still totally bitchy to point it out in such a rude way. I’d take ten typos in a quality piece than a perfectly-written, bland fluff piece any day. Fuck, some people just need to leave you alone!

    Hehe, I just wanted to say fuck.

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  • avatar

    A February 17, 2011, 3:14 pm

    “once cent”

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  • avatar

    baby.blanka February 17, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Small typos are an easy fix though – the important thing to remember is that the advice is still the same.

    I don’t want to be a “hater” or anything, but even websites WITH copy editors publish stories with typing/grammatical errors… (if everyone sees where I am coming from) so for having to work on this site all by herself, Wendy is really doing just as great as if she had an entire team!

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    • avatar

      princesspetticoat February 17, 2011, 8:45 pm

      Oh absolutely! I used to work for a newspaper (sadly not in the editorial department) and the amount of errors I found in the printed paper drove me crazy. I am beyond impressed with how incredibly polished this site is.

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  • avatar

    Sallie February 17, 2011, 3:19 pm

    I could proofread for you for free! I was a copy editor for my college’s weekly paper and we won an award while I was on the copy-editing team.

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  • avatar

    AnitaBath February 17, 2011, 3:23 pm

    I just noticed the recent comments are gone from the side. Just curious if there was a reason you took them away or if you thought they were unnecessary, but I liked being able to see who recently commented where. Just something to think about.

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    • avatar

      MissDre February 17, 2011, 3:53 pm

      Yes I agree… I really liked the recent comments!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 4:04 pm

      I’ll put them back! Wasn’t sure anyone cared to see them, so I wondered if they were just cluttering the page.

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    • avatar

      plasticepoxy February 17, 2011, 6:51 pm

      I kind of miss the menu on the side too, where I could jump from piece to piece. I liked being able to skip jumping back to the home page for a listing or scrolling down to the bottom for next or previous piece.

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    • avatar

      ladiejoy February 18, 2011, 9:36 am

      It might also be cool (if it’s even possible) to have the date/time stamp on the recent comments.

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  • avatar

    ladiejoy February 17, 2011, 3:23 pm

    You are SO my girl crush Wendy, hahaa!! I think you do a great job, and if a typo slips every now and then, fuck it. (Hehe, I’m with ya AB)
    Considering the staff over at TF and the number of typos I see regularly in those posts, you are doing a better job by yourself anyway.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle February 17, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Hope you get some income soon! I get like a whole 3 cents a month for my little blog. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Lexington February 17, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I keep agreeing with Ladiejoy today, might as well do it here too 😀

    I think you’re doing a great job and who cares about a small typo once in a while? Keep up the good work!

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster February 17, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Wendy, you are my hero. I, too, noticed you wrote boyfriend when you meant husband. I’m an editor so I notice shit like that. As an editor, I know how rude it can be when people nitpick, so I kept it to myself! I love your column, your advice is always spot on, and I really admire that you’ve started up your own website.

    BTW, if you need a copy editor, I’d love to do it. 🙂

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 4:06 pm

      What’s funny is, I sometimes mistakenly refer to my OWN husband as my “boyfriend,” (after a year and a half of marriage) so it’s not just in writing that I mess this up.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie February 17, 2011, 5:00 pm

        Boyfriend’s are the best kind of husbands. Don’t change a thing.

        I’d love to edit for you but look at the way I butchered my reply to your post about the new apartment. Thankfully a bunch of readers corrected me and I took no offense.

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  • avatar

    cdj0815 February 17, 2011, 3:38 pm

    “I usually proofread each column about four times. Twice on the day that I write it and twice on the day that I post it.”

    Sounds good enough to me. I applaud you for taking the time to do this for free. Your responses always show that you really care about the letter writer. Some people just like others to think they are so smart by pointing to others errors.

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  • bittergaymark

    bitter gay mark February 17, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I so feel you pain on typos. God know, I make them in my posts here all to often, too.

    Question — would it be possible to include an edit feature for people’s posts? I don’t mean that I expect YOU to correct peoples posts, but that I myself could go back and correct my own typos… I have seen this feature on another forum I post on. Just a thought. I know it may not be an option for you at this point, but if it was available… It would be a great feature to add.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 3:46 pm

      I’ll look into it and see what I can do.

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      • LK7889

        LK7889 February 17, 2011, 4:30 pm

        What version of WP are you using Wendy? I might have a link to a plugin that can do this…

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 17, 2011, 4:33 pm

        Version 3.0.5. I think I found a plugin but he installation is rather complicated, so I want to wait until the weekend when the traffic is much lower in case I temporarily mess things up.

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      • LK7889

        LK7889 February 17, 2011, 4:37 pm

        Cool. If it doesn’t work, aside from plugins, there is a hack for the comments.php template file that would take 5 minutes to implement. I’d be willing to do it for you for free since this is a feature that I would like to see on the site too! lol

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 17, 2011, 4:41 pm

        Thanks! I may take you up on that if I can’t get it to work on my own.

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  • avatar

    Tudor Princess February 17, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Wendy,
    I have my bachelors in English and would love to proofread for you. I’ve been looking at getting into freelance writing and editing, but wasn’t sure where to start. I would even be willing to work for free. 🙂

    I think your response to the commenter was perfect. You’re human and make mistakes. I understand the desire to correct someone, but there is a time, place, and way to do it so as to not be offensive.

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  • avatar

    Kristen February 17, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Wendy,

    I’m a copy editor and journalist by trade, and I’d love to help proof your articles whenever you’re up for it! I love your site and would be happy to edit for free. Just let me know!

    Sincerely,
    Kristen

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    • avatar

      Kristen February 17, 2011, 3:49 pm

      Just saw someone above me posted a similar offer a couple of minutes ago. How great to have people offering free copy editing services!

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  • avatar

    Alittlelux February 17, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Wendy,
    Yay for you! I am an editor and a writer and hate it when others…those who typically aren’t editors…feel the need to call me out on one typo, usually so they can have the last say (at least, that is what I assume). I loved your response! As Tudor Princess noted, you are are human.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Wendy February 17, 2011, 4:01 pm

    Those of you who have offered your copy-editing and proofreading skills are SO sweet to do so. It’s a lot of work though, and I just wouldn’t feel right not paying someone for his/her time. When I’m in a position to hire help, I’ll know where to look, and I’ll be sure to let everyone know I’m ready. In the meantime, please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you see a typo or error I can fix. When it’s done politely, I genuinely appreciate it.

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    • avatar

      MellaJade February 17, 2011, 4:43 pm

      Hi Wendy,

      My cousin is a recent college grad looking for an internship (read:happy with coffee and maybe just a train pass). She writes short stories and was recently the manager of a writing center. If this is closer to what you’re looking for I could forward you her rez/info….

      MellaJade.

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge February 17, 2011, 6:22 pm

      Just a thought- people who are offering to work for free just want something for their resume, and it really does help to let someone do that. If it’s a lot of work, maybe you can take multiple people up on their offer?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 17, 2011, 6:30 pm

        That’s an idea, and I’ll think about it. I just have my hands really full at the moment — both here and in my personal life — and it may be a few weeks before I even have time to do whatever training might be necessary. But I do honestly appreciate everyone’s offers to help!!

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  • avatar

    Chelsey February 17, 2011, 4:23 pm

    How could we go about helping the income situation? Do you get a cut if someone buys a product you reccomend on Amazon? If so, the next time I get paid and do my retail therapy, ill get something off here!

    PS Love this site! Eff the haters…

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 4:29 pm

      I do get a small cut from Amazon purchases readers make. Thanks for thinking of it.

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      • avatar

        Amanda February 18, 2011, 10:22 am

        Oh good!!
        I bought three of the books you recommend 🙂
        One for me, a different one for my best girlfriend and another different one for my mom.

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  • LK7889

    LK7889 February 17, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Agree with several of the comments above that said that they prefer the spicier, informal tone to the lack of typos. Heck, I make typos all the time too! It don’t bother me none. 😉

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  • avatar

    DiDo February 17, 2011, 4:28 pm

    You are doing great Wendy … don’t worry about a typo or two 🙂

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  • avatar

    Andrew February 17, 2011, 4:50 pm

    Go get ’em Wendy!

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  • avatar

    awendybird February 17, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I’m having trouble seeing thumbs up and down? Am I the only one and do I have to sign in or something?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 5:32 pm

      We are experiencing major technical difficulties because I was an asshole and thought I could install a plugin that I knew i couldn’t install without help and now everything is fucked up and I really need a drink.

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      • avatar

        karmsgirl February 17, 2011, 5:56 pm

        Can’t tell ya how many times I proof my own work and NEVER see the type until it’s posted. Oh and that whole “I thought I could fix it real quick but I took the whole site down” thing – yeah, been there, done that, feel your pain, you’re not alone… 🙂

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  • avatar

    belongsomewhere February 17, 2011, 5:51 pm

    Wendy, the website Offbeat Bride uses the service Editz (editz.com) so that readers can fix typos. I think it’s free. Readers can comment with corrections privately so that it doesn’t take up space in the regular comments, and you still ultimately have control over the changes that are made. It might be a decent substitution for a designated proof-reading employee for the time being?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 17, 2011, 5:54 pm

      Thanks, that’s a great idea. I will check it out.

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  • avatar

    silvii February 17, 2011, 6:26 pm

    I’m a bit late here, but really? You’re making an effort to help people out with their problems and all someone can do is pick on your little errors like some website police. I can’t imagine the efforts that go into managing a website single handedly, let alone answering peoples letters but Wendy you’re doing well and you know how to crack the whip and put people in their place.

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  • avatar

    Judi February 17, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Wendy’s link to this site was broken on her twitter site, and I tweeted her to let her know. She was super nice and thankful that I brought it to her attention. I guess that’s what happens when you have constructive criticism, and you’re not just a nitpicky ass.

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  • avatar

    Christy February 18, 2011, 9:21 am

    Sorry we’ve been stressing you out! I love this site and I’m excited for you to start getting income from it. One question–when you make a change like that, don’t some people put a strike through the incorrect word and then put the replacement next to it? It’s pretty clear that in this case we all know what the change was, but we might not know in the future. (What I’m thinking of is how online newspapers put corrections in the bottom, just in a more informal way.) There’s something about editing after the fact and not acknowledging the change (which is something that’s new with the internet) that makes me uncomfortable about how changes can be made and we might not know about it.

    But who am I kidding? I love the blog and would still read it if it had major typos in each post. Thanks, Wendy!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 18, 2011, 9:31 am

      First, it’s not you guys stressing me out! I’m the only one responsible for whatever stress I feel. I knew launching my own site would be a lot of work, and I’m totally up for it. But, I guess I sort of forgot that I would also have to juggle, like, the rest of my life along with all my new tasks. Just a little bit of a learning curve is all — I’ll adjust!

      As for acknowledging edits, I think that’s only necessary if you’re editing something sort of noteworthy. In my book, editing a little typo or spelling error definitely doesn’t require acknowledgment. The point is to make the text more reader-friendly, not messier to read.

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  • avatar

    magichils February 18, 2011, 9:22 am

    Ignore the snark. I read your website most days and I think its pretty damn well spellchecked and proofread. I can definitely be picky about stuff, I guess we all can sometimes, but that comment you got was just rude. As you said, you can definitely distinguish between snark and pointing out something.

    Thank you for the effort you continue to put into dearwendy.com.

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  • avatar

    magichils February 18, 2011, 9:27 am

    ps I hope it does start to become profitable for you soon. I frankly would not have much idea about you’d start doing so….I guess asking people with blogs to link to you would increase exposure? Eg I like reading the links from Dan Savage’s problem page on The Seattle Stranger…

    again, good luck and have a lovely weekend 🙂

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  • avatar

    Calliopedork February 18, 2011, 11:08 am

    Im bored at work and a grammartator , i will be you copy editor

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  • avatar

    Calliopedork February 18, 2011, 11:16 am

    Woops sorry I should have read the other comments first

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  • avatar

    sarah February 23, 2011, 1:22 pm

    That was me! I meant to come off neutral/curious. I’m sorry if it sounded negative/rude. Really sorry!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 23, 2011, 1:33 pm

      Thanks for that.

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    • avatar

      sarah February 23, 2011, 1:34 pm

      Love you & the site and hate to see such a negative thing about myself here.

      I do want to say though, that I think you got a LEETLE defensive and sort of fired off a response without thinking through the validity of my question. (I say this as someone who is the EXACT same way and is currently trying so, so, SO hard to rein in my knee-jerk angry responses whenever I feel threatened/insulted.) I mean, if you really do proofread things four times, you would have picked up on boyfriend vs. husband and fixed it. It was an oversight, it’s just you running this show, you’re overwhelmed across the board–I totally get that. But I think if numerous commentators have pointed something out, and I know you read the comments, it shouldn’t be too difficult to just hit the “edit” button and make the change. (I mean, maybe you hadn’t read those comments yet by the time I had and would have edited it once you saw them–if that’s the case, disregard this.) You just have to have a humble attitude–something that is, yes, SERIOUSLY difficult to do. Believe me, I know.

      You say your main beef was that I came off “rude.” I disagree, but I think that even if I had phrased it in the nicest, friendlist language possible, your sensitivity would have still been tripped and you would have rushed to defend yourself in the same way. Again, I say this as someone who is the SAME way. I’d really appreciate it if you edited this post to say that you misinterpreted my tone and that I apologized! Again, everything I said could be interpreted in a COMPLETELY neutral way–it was just your sensitivity making you interpret it in a rude way (in my opinion, as someone who is the same). I enjoy this site, your advice, and the community here, and I would hate to get soured on them!! (I also don’t want to be disliked by people here and denounced as a hater when I am not!)

      One more thing: I maintain my own website and get my own “Hey, you got this wrong” criticisms myself–some have been incredibly, overtly rude and have really thrown me into a depressed funk–so I GET you, I really really really do. But if you’re going to have a public persona with a website like this, you do have to develop a thicker skin, shelve the kneejerk defensive reaction, come back to the issue after you’ve calmed down, and see if there’s some validity there. And if there is, you fix it, and you say thanks for pointing that out (and, if necessary, “please be a little nicer in the future, or make it crystal clear you have good intentions”).

      Oh man! I’m giving YOU advice! This is getting silly. I’m sorry. I really am just trying to help from a place of nothing but good feelings towards you. And I’d appreciate a partial retraction. 🙁 I’m not a mean person!!

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster February 23, 2011, 1:53 pm

        You keep saying you’re sorry and that you get her response, but this was even worse than the first thing you wrote! You’re not giving Wendy advice FYI, you’re just being rude… again. If you’re super good at constructive criticism, like you’re “advising” Wendy to be, you would know when it’s time to let sleeping dogs lie. Like right now.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 23, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Look, I don’t want to get into an internet argument over this. I resent the implication that I am lying about proofreading things four times. I am not lying about that. Of course it’s possible to proofread something four times and still miss something. I also resent the assumption that because I was defensive with you, I’m defensive with EVERYONE who points out my typos and errors. That simply isn’t the case at all. In fact, I get notes from readers several times a week politely correcting an error I’ve made and you are the first person I’ve behaved defensively with. That’s because I truly felt you were rude. I promise, if you had phrased your criticism in “the nicest, friendliest language possible,” I would not “have rushed to defend myself in the same way,” but instead would have humbly thanked you and made the edit just as I do whenever someone politely corrects me.

        If it makes you feel better, I did get an email from someone who sided with you and said I was out of line for calling you out. This is one of those things that’s certainly open to interpretation. I interpreted your comment as rudeness, as did many others. I thank you for saying that wasn’t your intention.

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