J.R. Blackwell Self Portrait Fantasy Photo Illustration Photographer Photoshop

I Hate You, Please Like Me?

There are people who think they can get you to love them by hating everything you do.

It happens like this: Creative Person puts stuff online. A few fans of this stuff decide to be really harsh/sarcastic or critical to the Creative Person as a way to get that Creative Person to like them. It does not work. Everyone is sad.

This is totally separate than trolling, where a commenter is just being malicious. In the situation I’m describing, the commenting fan does enjoy your work, and really, really wants you to like them. The best way they see to do that is to tell you how much they think you suck.

When I saw this happen to other people and I thought it was just people being jerks. Then it happened to me. At first, I thought these folks were just being mean, but then I met a few in person and it became very clear that they didn’t intend any offense. They just wanted me to think they were cool. They thought that if they criticized my work I would think they are awfully clever and smart and would want to be their friend.

This is also very different from a critique, where the goal is to help, discuss and inform. I enjoy a good critique, but no peer has ever just jumped on me with a critique out of nowhere. Mostly, I have to beg for their opinions and thoughts. And frequently the conversation isn’t “Just tell me what’s wrong with me and my work” but more “Do you think this picture needs more magenta?”

Insulting someone online isn’t the way to get them to like you. If you like something a person does online, don’t tell them you hate them or their work. Certainly don’t do that with the expectation that it will get them to like you.

If you like something a creator is making, tell them you like it. A cruel remark isn’t going to make you appear clever, it’s going to make you appear hostile. Which isn’t to tell you never to critique someone. Do it if you feel it’s the right thing to do, but it’s not going to endear you to the person you’re critiquing, especially if it’s on a public forum.


Authors Note: This hasn’t happened recently. I’m not referring to a particular incident or person, but a pattern I’ve seen online. If you’ve recently had an interaction with me, and are questioning if this is about you, be assured, if it is not. The most recent time this has happened was over a year ago.

3 thoughts on “I Hate You, Please Like Me?

  1. That is true as far as it goes but on the other hand don’t ask a fan for a critique of your work if you aren’t prepared to hear some not too flattering commentary. Just because I like your work doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flaws. I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask a person what they think and then get mad when they don’t scream “I LOVE IT EVERYTHING YOU DO IS PERFECT!” I recently had this problem an author friend of mine. I asked him simply if something he did was intentional and he asked me to explain what I mean, I told him and he then asked what else I saw when I was reading his story. So I told him. Both the good and the bad. He got mad and hasn’t spoken to me since because I didn’t just tell him that everything was perfect the way it was.

  2. Yup. Been there. Approached at a con, said they saw my new book, then winced and said they really didn’t like the way it was presented. (paraphrasing to protect the rude.) And I’m like, “what are you or I gaining by you telling me this except I’m now very uncomfortable around you and probably will be for a while?”

    Sometimes I call this insult marketing. I splurged on a facial and the cosmetologist started chiding me for not waxing my brows. And I’m thinking, “you may think you’re making me want to run to the waxer to give more money to the spa, but instead I just hate you a little bit.”

    • Insult Marketing is a GREAT term for this. That is exactly what this is.

      You’re right about the results – it’s never made me like someone. Not once.

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