Don’t Feel Guilty If…Your Readers Expect More From You Than You Do

by Bess on February 22, 2012 · 7 comments

We all know that blogging creates a community, and, accordingly friendships (and in some cases, rivalries). And sure, as a blogger you may choose to reveal personal information that might spark readers to offer you advice/inspiration.

But sometimes you might find yourself feeling like your readers have more grandiose plans than you about your fitness performance/race time/wedding proposal/labor/ability to lose the baby weight, etc.

The blogger says she’s not in a rush to lose the baby weight. The readers leave 300 comments saying she’ll lose it in a month! She can do it!

Sound familiar?

We say? It’s totally acceptable to admit that while you are flattered that your readers have so much confidence in you, you are more comfortable at setting a lower bar for yourself.

Yes. You heard that correctly. We’re saying it’s OK to set the bar low. We actually think that maybe sometimes setting the bar too high in an effort to impress readers is what leads bloggers to push themselves way too hard. They run the risk of harming themselves and setting an unrealistic — and, again, potentially harmful — “normal” for all their other readers.

How To Let Your Readers Know You Have Lower Expectations Than They Do

You could politely ask if they have body-switching abilities and that, if so, you would be happy for them to spend several hours in your skin to run that marathon or pop out that baby for you. That way, when they are telling you “You can do it!” you can respond, “No…you can do it! For me!”

Another viable option is to remind your readers that regrettably your name is not Siri and a verbal command isn’t enough to ensure completion. (If that were the case, Henry Cavill would be my live-in pool boy.)

There’s also nothing wrong with waiting until after the big milestone happens to discuss it in detail — specifically how well the outcome did or didn’t dovetail with the expectations you had for yourself. Take our blog buddy Dori for example. She candidly discusses her emotions after she did not finish her first marathon, only to surprise her readers by secretly completing a marathon the following weekend. By choosing to wait until after that race ended to enlighten her readers about this feat, she didn’t have to feel bound by others’ expectations or worried about letting people down.

The thing is, readers typically mean well. But sometimes their well-meaning encouragement can push a blogger to commit to a goal she knows deep down isn’t right for her. If we want bloggers to blog responsibly, we also must examine how bloggers can encourage people to read and comment responsibly too.

Have you noticed that readers can be extremely, uh, optimistic when telling a blogger she can hit a goal? We’d love to hear more suggestions for how bloggers can say to readers, “No. Really. I can’t do that. It would be harmful for me to try.”

Do you admire when a blogger admits that her individual standards are lower than what her readers expect of her? Or do you think bloggers should push themselves?

Let’s discuss!

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