Thursday, June 11, 2015

Advice on Getting Praised

This is my third installment in my series of writing better advice than the actual advice column. Here's the question (heavily paraphrased, since this was several years ago when it was posted):

I just got a part in a very big show that was really difficult to get into, and not one person has said congratulations to me! People are calling the house and saying congratulations to my mom! I'm the one who got into the show and no one is congratulating me!
-Fed Up

1. First of all, congratulations! That's awesome that you got into the show, and you can definitely feel proud of yourself!

2. If people are calling the house and saying congratulations to your mom, let your mom know how you feel and ask her to hand you the phone when people call. If someone starts congratulating her for the fact that you got into the show, she can say, "Why don't you talk to Ashley? She's right here," and then let them congratulate you directly.

3. There are a few different reasons that your friends may not be congratulating you. The first is that they might not know you got into the show. Have you mentioned it to them? If so, do they know what a huge accomplishment this was and how much the show means to you? If you haven't already, share the news with your friends, let them know how competitive the show was and how proud you are of getting in, and give them the chance to congratulate you.

4. If you have already shared all of this information with your friends and they still are not congratulating you, it's possible that your friends feel like you are bragging about the show, or that they feel jealous. The jealousy is especially a possibility if your other friends also would have liked to be in this show. If this might be the case, ease up on talking about the show for a little while and make an effort to compliment your friends on the things that they do well, so that you won't sound like you're bragging or think you're better than them. When you do bring up the show again, focus on how you feel about getting into the show. Instead of saying, "I got picked out of 100 kids to be in the show. Isn't that awesome?" you could say something like, "I've been practicing my audition piece for three months and I'm so proud that all that work paid off!" If you let your friends know how much the show means to you in a non-bragging way, they should take the hint and congratulate you.

5. If you have adults who care about you and whom you can trust - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins, teachers, or family friends - try talking to them about the show. Your peers might be feeling jealous, but adults who care about you are unlikely to be jealous or to be bothered if you sound like you're bragging. If you want to talk about the show and get lots of praise, and your friends just aren't ready for that yet, you may want to talk to a trusted adult about the show for the time being.

6. If after waiting a while, you bring up the show to your friends in a non-bragging way and they still don't congratulate you, it's time to let them know how you feel. Let them know that the show is important to you and it hurts your feelings that they have not congratulated you, and see what they say.

The most important part of this answer is that I respected the person's desire. Not once did I indicate that there was anything wrong with her wanting praise. I wrote a briefer version of this advice when the question was posted, but of course my answer did not get picked. A couple other answers recommended asking her mom to hand her the phone, but the dominant tone of the answers was, "Don't always expect to get praised for everything." Ugh! If she wants to get praised, that is her own business and is perfectly fine! Just answer the freaking question and stick to her desire without trying to alter it.

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