The Benefit of the Doubt

June 27th, 2013 | Blog Uncategorized


I remember when I was at the very beginning stages of trying to get published, I went to a conference. And at that conference I had a chance to meet an author I really admired. I was a nervous wreck to go meet them, and almost wimped out. But I worked up the courage to say hello and…

The author was rude.

Not horrible or anything. Just not very friendly–in a noticeable enough way that even the people with me agreed.

I walked away surprised and disappointed, and from then on assumed that this author just wasn't a very nice person. I still loved their books. And I certainly didn't share this story with others. But I also formed my opinion of them.

Fast forward to an event where I had to see this author again.

I'll admit, given my past experience, I had certain expectations for how the meeting would go. And this time….

The author wasn't rude at all. In fact, they were one of the nicest authors I've met. Which left me baffled.

Was it split personalities?

Some sort of strange body-snatching scenario?

Or was it option number three–the much more logical option, and the option I *should've* considered all along: maybe they WEREN'T rude.

Maybe the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

Looking back on my first meeting with the author, I can see how poor my timing was. We were at a conference and they were probably on their first break of the day, desperate to get something to eat/drink (or to find a bathroom), and I was delaying them. Or maybe they were exhausted from having been “on” all day and just didn't have the kind of energy I'd been hoping for. Or maybe they're uncomfortable in social situations.

There were a million, much-more-probable explanations for the author's behavior that would've given them the benefit of the doubt. But I assumed the worst.

So really, if anyone was the rude one, it was me.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately–mainly because I've discovered that one of the hardest parts of this job (for me, at least) is being thrown into all kinds of crazy social situations. There's really no instruction manual for how to act at any of the events authors have to do, and every time I do one I'm very aware of how easy it would be to say/do the wrong thing and leave someone with a bad impression. And the worst part is, if I do, I'll probably never know.

So I just want to put a big THANK YOU out into the universe, to anyone who's ever met me (and not just in the writing world). Thank you for your patience. For giving me the benefit of the doubt. And for sharing a small part of your time with me. I'm sorry if I've ever made you feel like I don't appreciate that. I really, really do.

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