So last week, I launched my new weekly blog post, Wednesday Worries, in which I share one of the stupid things I worry about, and then sit back and wait for people to tell me that I’m not alone. Last time, it was reassuring to hear that others find driving just as stressful as I do. So let’s move on to…
This is a tough one, because, like most people, if I discover a book that I love, or watch a great film, I want to tell my friends about it. But doing that also fills me with terror, because what if they don’t like it? And then what if they blame me for wasting their time with this rubbish?
I’ve always suffered from a fairly significant guilt complex, which leads me to look for reasons to feel bad, even if nobody’s blaming me for anything. I’m not very good at letting things go; I tend to dwell on stuff for a long, long time. I still occasionally feel guilty about an argument I had with someone at primary school (I’m not even joking). So even though I know it would be pretty unreasonable if someone were to blame me just because we disagree over what makes a good book, that doesn’t stop me waiting anxiously for their verdict. And if it does turn out that they hated it, I’ll definitely feel bad about it for weeks – so I’ll still be stressing long after the person in question has forgotten all about it.
So I’m as surprised as anyone to find myself writing theatre reviews, not just on here but on a couple of fairly influential websites. After all, that’s not just me making suggestions to a friend – complete strangers could well end up spending their money based on my opinion, which is petrifying when you stop and think about it. And I do tend to have a small panic attack before any of my reviews are published, assuming that a) I’ve totally misunderstood what I’ve just watched, b) I’m the only person who liked it (or not – but that’s pretty rare), and everyone’s going to think I’m an idiot if I say so, or c) nobody cares what I think anyway. It particularly terrifies me to know that the actors and producers of the shows are going to read what I’ve written…
But so far, I’ve had only lovely responses to my reviews, and nobody’s laughed at me (at least not in public), which has really helped, just like every time someone says something nice about this blog it gives me a little boost. I’ll probably always be slightly scared to make recommendations, but like any irrational fear, maybe the way to overcome it is to do more of it… which means lots more theatre reviews. (Sorry.)
Does anyone else worry about recommending stuff to friends (or strangers)? How do you deal with it?