Every week, a bunch of stories I have written publish on various websites. A good number of them publish on Wednesdays, so I am often a nervous wreck that day. Every email could be someone calling to complain that they did not like their quotes, found a typo, feel I misrepresented them, think I am a big dum dum in general, etc., etc. It doesn’t happen a lot (anymore), but it does still happen. And it always stresses me out. I’m stressed out right now just thinking about it.
I understand being portrayed in someone else’s words to the public is a very sensitive topic, so much of my stress is rooted in the fact that no matter how ridiculous I think their issue might be (I’m sorry you think you sound stupid, but that was a direct quote from your mouth…), I get it. And I feel bad about it.
Occasionally though, this happens: My phone rings. I answer. The person says, “Hi, Natalie, it’s Mr. Person You Just Wrote About.” My heart drops. My blood pressure raises. I mentally scan through every word from a 1,000-word article to predict his complaint. “I just wanted to thank you for writing such a great article,” he says instead. “It was so helpful for me/my business/my organization.”
This just happened 15 minutes ago, and I’m not even exaggerating, I almost cried. It meant so much to me. I wanted to demand he tell me his location so I could find him and hug him.
There’s something I’ve noticed over the years with regard to the complaining sources and the appreciative ones. The most professional, successful people I interview are the ones who take the time to say thank you. I don’t think it has a thing to do with the quality of the story I wrote, I think it has to do with the quality of their character. Showing appreciation is simply classy. It’s a reflection of the same behavior patterns that helped them be successful in the first place.
It is also just so nice. It’s a reminder that we all should be nicer and classier and more appreciative too. So…I’m off to go find someone to thank for something.