Why Don't My Friends Support My Stuff?

Was that a vague enough title?  It was intentional, as I mean to say a few different things with this post. My good friend called me an a$$ today and hung up on me, and it hurt my feelings.  (I didn't even know I had feelings anymore).  Anyways, I was about ready to get defensive and yell all these nasty things I didn't mean, before I realized I was/am an a$$.

I think, metaphorically, that I've spewed venom on a few friends.
I should've done a "friendship," instead of a "fatality."  
You see, I was joking, or rather lampooning his place of business, a retail store.  Those of you who don't follow my blog, my last six entries have been about my eight years of retail experience...most of which left me with a sulfuric taste in my mouth.   I guess some of the brimstone of my past infected my words towards his place of work, and he got offended.  I've always tried to tell him, and others, that you are bigger than what you do for a living, but then I remembered how I sometimes feel:  That nobody gives a hoot in hell about what I'm trying to do either.

We, as Americans do a piss poor job of supporting each other.  Through break-ups, through crisis, through pain, even through triumphs, it's hard to get out there and throw unfettered support to our loved ones.  Because we are busy.  Because we are tired.  Because it's not our thing.  Because somebody else could do a better job helping them in that field.

It's exhausting coming home and raising a zebra and
watching Parks and Recreation.  I just don't have time
to check out your promotional things, as I don't have
a DVR or a good zebra trainer I can rely on! 
And those are all stupid excuses.  We all suck.  I'll start with myself.  Or rather how I've felt when I don't get that support.

I wonder why of all my close friends, it is only the fringe group, people I rarely interact with in real life, who are really supportive of my attempts at getting published?  I know a lot of other artists who feel the same way.  I have support of many people, don't get me wrong.  I'm grateful for the comments, the likes, the links, the positive words said on our rare encounters:  it keeps me motivated.  But I also wonder why some of the people I love the most haven't said anything?

1.  Do they not know how much I need their feedback?
2.  Do they honestly think I suck, (as I've thought a few times about other people's talents) and don't have the heart to tell me?
3.  If they think I'm good, do they think that eventually the talent scouts will find me, and so their efforts aren't important.  (again, I've felt this way about many talented people, who never got paid).
4.  Are they tired of my endless self-promotion, and want me to just be Chris, the guy they once knew who wasn't asking for favors?
5.  Are they just too busy trying to get by to actually try to help someone else out?
6.  Is my writing just not their thing?  (Why are so many intelligent men so abhorrent to reading?).

I can always fall back on my creepy "Shinning" face and
Angry Birds Star Wars career.  I am currently #1291,
better than 99.98% of the world.  That is rare talent, folks. 
These are just a few of my thoughts when I'm having a pity party.  I don't feel this way very often.  In fact, I hate the fact that I have to promote myself to people.  Audiences, though, don't just show up.  I wish they did.  I wish I knew the exact person to showcase my skills in front of to get it noticed so that I didn't have to constantly berate my friends with announcements that I'm still trying to climb the ladder.  I'm sure it's annoying.  In fact, I know it's annoying, because it was once bothersome to me, when other people have asked me to support their thing.

I have the blessing/curse of knowing a number of enormously talented people.  My family alone could write/sing/act/direct/play/paint-construct the set of a Broadway worthy play or start an arts oriented school. You might think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. They're all that good.  Between my sisters, mother, father, brother (and bros-in-laws) and wife are thousands of awards for talents and gifts.

And I've done a horrible job supporting them in theirs.  Sure, I attended a concert or two.  Yet I balked at the full price of a CD, or commissioned a painting at "family prices."  I didn't have time to attend the huge orchestral symphony that my brother-in-law wrote and directed at the University of Oregon for his graduation ceremony.  How many people get that opportunity?  And my sisters are so good at singing and playing instruments, but instead of praising them endlessly, I've said things like, "well it's good, but I'm kind of tired of ukuleles and female vocalists."  I'm serious.  What kind of a jerk says things like this? A guy who thought numbers 1-6 from above.  I thought that my family and/or friends were so good at their thing that they didn't need the support of another audience member.

Susan Boyle: A rare talent over looks winner.  
But that's exactly what they needed.  Numbers.  We all need numbers.  We all need people who will jump on our bandwagons and support us until we get noticed or get fired or exhausted or humiliated or totally beat.  And if that happens, we need to be there to say uplifting things, instead of the lampooning or saying overly critical crap I learned to do in college towards anything art-worthy.  Why have we allowed no talent face-models to get all the glory in this world, when our neighbor or brother or classmate is immensely more skilled or worthy?  Simple:  they (the beautiful people) have numbers and the person you know doesn't.  Their numbers are better audience members, and throw their money unquestioning at stupid merchandise, while you sit back and say, "yeah, but this still needs a little more refining...maybe in a few years when it's all polished up, I'll buy a CD, or book, or artwork, or use your services, etc."

I'd rather have no audience than that background guy as
a fan.  I hope he doesn't represent how I've been as a
supporter of other's works.  
So before you start being an A$$ towards someone, like I have been guilty of too many times to remember, maybe we all should sit back and think, "if I was in their shoes, what would they want their friends to say or do." It would probably be, "can you just be supportive; life's hard enough without you guys mocking my life choices."


Before you accuse me of trying to milk guilt- ridden complements, please know that this was not the intention of this piece.  I'm a big boy.  I'm wrong often. I might be deluding myself with how good I think I am. I'd rather hear that critique, then keep attempting to do something I'm only kind of good at.  We all need a little Simon Cowell criticism at times.  Some of us, though, like myself, need to act a little more like Paula Abdul (without the drunkenness), and start really saying and doing nice things for other people.  Even if their thing, isn't my thing, they still need my support.


  1. The reason God made parents is so we will always have two supportive people in our lives. For those of us who have lost parents over the years . . . we're S.O.L.

    1. Dan, you were one of the people I failed to be supportive enough to. Your comic strip, political cartoons, (among many other ideas) were/are good enough to be in mainstream newspapers, etc., and I wasn't active enough in promoting your work. Someday, you'll get your Susan Boyle "luck" moment, and people will see you for the talent you really are (and you're slightly better looking than Boyle, so you've got that going for you : )

    2. At a seminar I once attended about this type of stuff the cartoonist/presenter suggested that, while passion does not guarantee success, all those who eventually achieve a measure of success seem to possess the passion toward their work that causes them to pursue it regardless of whether they get noticed or paid (I don't think I fall in that category). That's a level of passion that will burn out most people in a short amount of time. Interestingly, Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime.

    3. Maybe that's why he cut his own ear off. Ugh. Thanks for the reality check.

    4. When I was in the latest play, I had so many people tell me they wanted to see it that I was concerned there would be enough room. It was interesting to see who actually showed up.

    5. Yeah, I really wanted to come more than the preview night. Maybe when you guys get together a year from now to reprise the show (snicker) I can see it again.

      My wife is someone I need to promote more often, it's just odd when she has a job that doesn't really care how good or bad her shows are. She strives for excellence, but the majority of her administrators don't even attend her shows (too many athletic things to attend?). Although big crowds equal better funds for her department, so I'll start whipping people into a frenzy, to make her job easier.

    6. I saw Nancy Golden at one of Jill's shows recently.

  2. I think you're right in that we often don't go the extra mile to support others. I think it's usually some sort of formula of pieces of the 6 questions you asked. The sum total = people not caring enough to try to shove someone to the moon.

    Just because someone is really good at something doesn't mean it's my thing. (Your number 6) To those in my family or friends, I may always ask how such and such is going for them. I'll let them know I care about what they're doing, just don't care to endure it.

    1. It is difficult to listen to someone else blather on about some mundane or specific interest area that isn't your thing...my little brothers/sisters-in-law used to talk for hours about anime, and I was like, "I hate anime!" It didn't stop them.

      As a teacher, I constantly have kids staying after class to talk about a novel or video game or music band that is not anything at all interesting to me...I just have to grin and bear it. Sometimes giving validation to another's "thing" is just listening. Maybe that's what some of my readers are doing. Just silently supporting by listening.

      And go support RC (Mike). Go check out his blog www.themoralofthestoryis.com. He's one hell of an honest, interesting, and fresh voice about all things in life. A dang good writer too, especially considering that he's an accountant by day.

    2. That's the beauty of working with numbers. They don't ever want to tell me about their garage band. If any of my coworkers ever mentioned a garage band, I might slap them.

      And thanks for the shout out!

  3. In the end I don't think that success or getting to a place of success comes from the support of people closest to us. I think sometimes the lack of it can drive you on. I also think our friends and family support us when we aren't around more than when we are. Telling others about our talents or referring others to our work. We may be being supported when we don't know it. I just had someone tell me today that one of my friends has been telling everyone about my book. I had no idea!

    1. You're right. I often hear from many people, (including my good friends that I was talking about above) that they read my stuff, and tell other people.

      I fear I went the wrong direction in this blog. I was trying to use my own oversensitive feelings to come to terms with the fact that I've never been that supportive of my friends/families pursuits. Doing anything creative takes a toll on oneself, and the fact that it hardly pays off financially, is a scary reality. Why have I been so cheap and unsupportive of other's talents: often criticizing small aspects or comparing their stuff to "professional and/or masterpieces" of their field, when nobody can compete with established artists, as they have thousands of dollars in support systems in place: from editors, publicists, trainers, managers, agents, coaches, technicians, etc.

      Just look at Youtube or reddit or any of these sites where people post their work, only to get lambasted by kids with no talent whatsoever. We have become a nation of criticizers, and I'm tired of participating in that arena. I'm trying to build up, rather than put down. (which means I have to change my entire DNA and college education).

    2. I guess I would just resolve to be more positive. You are more aware now and even just a bit of encouragement goes a long way. I do like that as a community indie writers are being supportive of each other like on Twitter and the like. I know it's easy to get caught up in the negative that's out there but my plan is to ignore it. Try not to get offended if someone doesn't support you as you'd like and look for opportunities to encourage others. When you bless others you feel blessed. I think you had a valid point in this post and I get what you're saying but when people are negative or critical I just move on, change the subject or walk away. I try to hang out with positive people and get rid of the negative in my life. Took me until my 30's to figure it out since I am a people pleaser at heart. Much happier now! =)

  4. Yes, this. Exactly. I am not as supportive as I would like, but have grown more so since starting my own endeavors. I know how much it means just to show up...

    1. Just show up...I almost made a poster with that slogan for parent-teacher conferences one year. Sadly, I average about 10 parents to the 150+ kids I teach each term. No wonder the student isn't interested. Oddly, when mom or dad shows to the game, or the event the kid suddenly tries harder...who would've thought?