The "At Least" Test for Commenting

Syndicated

I love a good comment. I really love a good comment. Well, let’s be honest, I like all comments because it means that people are reading and since I write my blog to talk to you, I like it when you talk back.

I comment on a lot of blogs. I like to leave comments because I like to get comments. (And that makes it sound like I leave comments in order to get comments. No. I leave comments because I like comments so I figure that you like comments too.) I used to be able to leave more comments than I can now. I think my New Year’s blog resolution this year will to leave more comments and to spread them around a little bit better. (Like your blog. That I have been meaning to comment on for AGES! I read it, I really do.)


When I leave comments, I try to leave a comment that I would like to get. I try to think about my comment and think about the different ways that it could be misinterpreted. You know, because you can’t hear my voice through the computer, maybe you can’t tell when I am teasing. (I end up leaving a lot of smiley faces for that very reason, even though I don’t really like the emoticon.)

I have a hard and fast rule for comments. I never, ever leave a comment that contains the words “at least.” (Exception: joking, in lighthearted situations.) I also never leave a comment that could contain the words “at least” even if it doesn’t.

At least you know you can get pregnant.

At least you have a child already.

At least you know who your real friends are now.

Those kinds of statements are not helpful. When someone writes a post grieving a miscarriage, they don’t care that they were pregnant. They want to still be pregnant. If someone writes a post where support is warranted, they don’t need you to look on the bright side for them. They don’t need the bright side, they need the support.

Often, I write three or four comments and delete them before finally settling on what I want to say. I’m sure I have unintentionally hurt someone with my words. But I put each comment through the “at least” test before I click submit. I try to put myself in the place of the person receiving the comment and think about what I would want to hear. That makes it hard to leave comments on my non-regular blogs, like when someone else sends me to a friend for support or I go from the Lost and Found. In those situations, I end up leaving a totally uninspired repeat that someone else has already said. “I’m sorry. I’ll be thinking of you.” But repeats are better than “at leasts,” and I truly mean those uninspired things that other people have already written.

Jen writes daily at Here We Go Again. You can also find her on Twitter. In four years of blogging, she's gotten almost all wonderful comments and only a few from people she wanted to smack.

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