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Ask Lisa: No need for plastic surgery

Get thicker skin and revenge, too

 by Lisa Przystup
 published on Thursday, August 31, 2006


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Well everyone, here's what you've all been waiting for: the first installment of advice from little old me. Again, please e-mail me with any and all of your crises (big or small), and I'll do my best to make them seem okay.



Dear Lisa,

I am an aspiring journalist and have written several pieces for publication. I love writing, but I wasn't prepared for the often scathing and negative reactions I have received to some of my columns. I plan on being a writer and sticking with this, and I know to do so I'm going to have to develop a thicker skin. Any tips?

Sincerely,

Thin-skinned in Mesa



Dear Thin-Skinned,

I myself have dealt with such predicaments and have put myself through several rigorous skin-thickening exercises. It helps to actually confront your "attacker." You can talk to them directly, but if you'd rather just vent privately, try typing up a letter in response to their criticisms that you never plan on sending out.

Or, if you happen to be like me and have your very own advice column, you could just air your dirty laundry for everyone to see. For example, here's an excerpt from a scathing letter I received last week in reaction to my very first column:

"Ms. Przystup's blatant disregard for her own friends is appalling at best. I, for one, would never stoop to call my friends 'saps,' even if I secretly thought so. Dear Abby and Ann Landers should both be barrel-rolling in their graves about now. How can one so devoid of common sense regarding interpersonal relationships assume to dictate to others?"

Ouch, right? That one most certainly had sting to it. But after feeling deeply offended and saddened all day, I came home from work and drafted a couple responses:



Dear Mr. Malicious,

I am truly sorry that you missed the tone of my article and mistook my sarcasm to be a reflection of what you deem my unkind and callous nature. I must admit that I found your response to what you considered to be offensive disproportional and unnecessarily biting. I'm also not sure how you found it to be so offensive...after all, you are not one of my friends, nor do you know me personally. I do not believe you have the privilege to attack me in such a vicious manner, as you do not come close to having the smallest grasp or inkling of the true nature of my "interpersonal relationships."



Or:

Dear Mr. Soapboxer,

I am truly flattered that out of all the awful and disturbing afflictions that plague humankind and our world at large (genocide, the AIDS epidemic, war, famine, etc.) you chose my humble little advice column as your grand soap-boxing opportunity. But, my friend, just imagine the difference you could be making in this world if you, say, channeled all that unbridled passion and talent and directed it towards something worthwhile."



See how easy that was? And after doing so, I felt a million times better. Try it out next time you receive a "lemon in your paper cut" type comment.



Reach Lisa at lisa.przystp@asu.edu with your comments and advice quandaries. Remember, we'll keep your information confidential, so don't be afraid to ask for help!



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