Do you ever feel tongue tied when leaving a comment on social media?
In a recent discussion on Instagram and the blog, many of you said that you aren’t sure what to say when commenting, especially when it’s a post where a minority has shared their life experience, and you don’t want to say the wrong thing. Maybe you worry about putting your foot in your mouth or making it about yourself. Don’t worry, we’ve got some suggestions for you!
First of all, how beautiful that you want to do the right thing! I think this is a case where perfect is the enemy of good—better to do your best and make the author feel supported. With that in mind, here are a few simple replies that you could use in many situations!
“Thank you for this post.“
This was a suggestion from a reader, and it’s brilliant! Simple, positive, and uncomplicated! Variations would be “Thank you for putting the time into explaining this to me” or “Thank you for the work you do.”
“This gives me food for thought.“
It’s ok to still be thinking through things! Sometimes all I can say is, “I’m going to come back and reread this so I can process it fully.” Likewise, you can say, “I never thought of it this way before.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you.“
I’m not going to lie, I’m watching Star Trek: The Next Generation as I write this, and Picard just said something to this effect. Take it from a (fictional) career diplomat! Acknowledging that you are learning is always a good approach.
Now, before I ask for your suggestions on safe and supportive comments, I’d like to talk about the elephant in the room: What happens when you DO accidentally say the wrong thing? I have certainly done it many times before, and often you don’t even know it’s coming. Luckily, the answer is simple: Listen. Acknowledge. Apologise without making excuses. Don’t do it again. In 9 years of active blogging, this has always worked for me. Trouble only starts when you double down, and that’s very simple to avoid!
I sincerely hope that this is helpful for any of the people who mentioned that they want to respond to our posts but aren’t sure what to say. It’s totally fine not to comment, though—you are a valued member of the community no matter how you participate. I’d love to hear from you what your go-to comments are when you don’t know quite what to say, and how you deal with the fear of saying the wrong thing. Let’s learn from each other!