Dear Amy: I am a self-supporting working woman.
Over the past decades, I’ve written personal essays for various publications. I don’t make money at this; I wish I could!
I have a portfolio full of my work. Some pieces are humorous; some are serious.
I moved to a new town three years ago and made a new friend. She was going on a long car ride, so I offered to give her a few of my essays to read while she was away.
She has not said a word about any of the essays. I’m surprised because two of the pieces mention how my son battled cancer as a teenager. I had never discussed this extremely personal topic with my friend. I thought this was a good way to enlighten her. (My son is now cancer-free.)
I finally asked her if she read any of my work. She said she did. She had no comments. Nothing positive; nothing negative.
I find this very odd and a bit insulting. I am not a terrible writer. If the pieces were poorly written, they wouldn’t have been published in the first place.
People are also reading…
Is my friend upset that I never broached the subject of my son’s illness before? I believe she’s the type of person who would let me know that the omission upset her.
She didn’t comment on the humorous pieces, either. Wouldn’t a friend say SOMETHING?
I just don’t get why she hasn’t said a word about something very close to my heart.
— At a Loss in Colorado
Dear At a Loss: A negative response from a friend could be deflating, but no response is much worse, because the writer in you fills the void with questions and doubt.
Yes, I do think it’s possible that your friend was shocked by some of the personal revelations you wrote about but had never disclosed to her. But some people simply do not realize that the kindest response from a friend is to offer encouragement, a question, or a compliment, along with any less-positive comments if the conversation goes deeper.
It is possible that your friend simply didn’t like your work, and doesn’t know how to deliver a vague and friendly acknowledgement that might satisfy you.
Because this worries you, you could say to her, “I’m a little thrown off that you haven’t had anything to say about my work. Are you open to having a conversation about it?” If she demurs, accept it. You should re-publish …….