Let’s Vent, Shall We? Praise publicly, criticize privately.

Angry Patty

I just got a whopper of an email from my sister. It seems as though my 90 year-old aunt and her 65 year-old daughter were hurt that I posted on FB the following:  “two words: food poisoning”. This was the evening of Aug 10. My Aunt’s 90th birthday party was in NJ that afternoon, and I really am sure I got it there. I threw up on the way back to DE, and continued to throw up for another eight hours.

My aunt FBed me and said no one else got food poisoning so I must have gotten it from DRINKING TOO MUCH at the party, or it was from someplace else I had eaten. I did not eat breakfast that day, and since we were on the road, I had McDonald’s yogurt for dinner. I was already not feeling good. Oh, and I didn’t drink booze at the party. I had a ginger ale.

My sister just wrote me the following letter:

Dear Patty

I went out to the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair with Aunt Jeanne on Friday evening.  She brought up something with me about you, that I thought you should know. 
I am not on Facebook, so I don’t know what you wrote.  I am guessing that you wrote something like, “I got food poisoning at my aunt’s 90th birthday party.”  On the surface, that might seem like an innocent comment. 
Aunt Jeanne did not take it that way.  As she talked with me about it last evening, she was angry, embarrassed, upset, and really hurt by your comment.  Clearly she was if she told me about it on August 22, and the party was August 10th~~~she is still hurt.  She said that her entire family read the comment (I guess everyone is on Facebook except me these days) and that she was also very upset because Joan hosted the party, that it reflected poorly on her as well. 
In fact, after you posted, Joan asked me and Jay whether we had gotten ill from the food.  We hadn’t. 
I cannot imagine that you set out to hurt both Aunt Jeanne and Joan by your comment.  That’s what happens with “unintended consequences.”   
I learned a long time ago in teaching “Praise publicly, criticize privately.”  
If I were you, I would not post anything else about the party on Facebook, even if it’s positive.  The damage has already been done.  But you might like to either call or write a note to Aunt Jeanne, saying that you are sorry that you hurt her feelings.  
By the way, she does not know that I am writing this e-mail to you.  But our aunt is 90 years old, and not going to live to live forever. I think you should apologise. 
from your sister, 
The Queen of Tact. 
So, dear readers, what do you think? Would this totally piss you off??? Praise publicly, criticize privately?
i wasn’t criticizing! I was simply stating I had food poisoning. That’s it. And yes, I think I got it at the party. 



One thought on “Let’s Vent, Shall We? Praise publicly, criticize privately.”

  1. Oh, technology is such a double-edged sword this way! Sometimes you say something innocent, and people have to interpret it, not face to face where they can see your facial cues and hear the tone of your voice, but through a cold unfeeling thing like a computer. So they interpret it based on how they were feeling or simply based on an assumption as to how you were feeling. I remember when my parents took up texting, they always seemed angry because their text messages were in all caps; in reality, all caps was just the default setting, and they had no idea that an all-caps message could be interpreted as anger. These things happen, and it sucks when you become the bad guy for no reason. My first instinct was to say “talk to your aunt” but I can understand if you don’t want to, as I’m not completely sure I would either.

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