Life Is Stranger Than Fiction

| Friendly | November 18, 2016

(My best friend of twenty years and I are attending college. I am studying English writing and literature while she is studying English education. I have a major writing assignment assigned that’s for a large part of my grade. Knowing that my best friend loves critiquing written work and plans on making a career out of it, I ask her to proofread. I give her the assignment details beforehand. She not only sounds interested, she promises to provide feedback for me. I hand her a copy of my rough draft and wait several weeks — ample time for her to read and evaluate the draft.)

Me: “Hey, have you been able to finish reading my draft?”

Friend: “Oh, yeah. I read it a bit ago.”

Me: “What did you think?”

Friend: “I don’t know. It’s not really my kind of thing.”

(This surprised me a lot. The rough draft was a work of fiction similar to stories my friend HAD enjoyed like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. At this point, I start fishing for feedback myself so I can improve my draft and grade.)

Me: “I… I see… Well, what parts did you like?”

Friend: “I don’t know; I don’t really remember.”

Me: “Do you have a favorite character?”

Friend: “No, not really.”

Me: “What did you think about the opening? Was there too much dialogue?”

Friend: “I can’t really remember.”

Me: “Did you read any of it?”

Friend: “Of course I did! I have that rough draft in my dorm with all kinds of red marks on it and stuff!”

Me: “Could you get it? I’d like to fix the grammar too.”

Friend: *dismissive* “Yeah, I’ll get it later.”

Me: “But do you remember anything at all? Anything to help me now? Like did you pick up on any foreshadowing? Or were the descriptions not clear enough?”

Friend: “Gosh, I already told you don’t remember! The problem is you can’t take criticism!”

Me: *I am blown away by this comment since this is the first time she has ever read anything of mine* “…What?”

Friend: “You can’t take criticism! I say something negative about your story, and you can’t handle it. Just listen to yourself now; you’re just hounding me to say something nice about your story! Gosh, why did you even bother to ask me in the first place if you’re not going to listen to a word I have to say!”

Me: “But you haven’t given me any feedback. I’m just trying to find out your thoughts.”

Friend: “Gosh, you’re obsessed! It’s all you ever think about! Just stop trying to push your priorities on me! It’s! Not! Important!”

(At this point, she stormed off. And since then, she hasn’t spoken to me once. She even went so far as to block not only me from emails, phone calls, and Facebook, but every member in my family as well. You know, if she hadn’t read the rough draft or hadn’t had time with her other school work, she could have just said so.)

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