Should We Ask Permission To Write About People?

What responsibility do we have when we write about other people? Should we ask their permission in the way we’re portraying them? Should we ask to include them at all?

This is a subject I first considered when writing about my twin, and since then it’s cropped up several times. I generally try to keep any comments about other people positive, because it’s nice to be nice and sometimes I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy…, but from time to time people may get portrayed in a slightly more negative light than they deserve in the interests of humour.

When I began wrestling with it I took to the world of the Google to hunt down an answer from more experienced bloggers and was flabbergasted to discover.. nothing. Nada. Not one bit of advice to help little old Liza navigate the uncertain seas of blogging. It’s a question I’ve seen floating around on Twitter so I know I’m not the only one thinking about it, but it seems that no one has yet put fingers to keyboard to dissect this ethical dilemma (or maybe I just hard rubbish search terms, which is entirely feasible) and so I thought I might as well take a stab at it.

What I sense, from my five fantastic months in the blogging world, is that there is no concrete answer. In my Google perusals I saw discussions surrounding traditional writing and the inclusion of friends and family members and the general consensus seems to be that asking is a pretty nice way to go about things. That way you seem to avoid some of the backlash that can come from an unfavourable portrayal, or at least provide something of a warning.

Ultimately people aren’t always going to be happy with what you have to say, and that’s the risk we take when we write things about our personal life. I never want to offend, but I do want to entertain and I’m going to be much more careful about the balance I strike for the ones I love. And just to clear, any advice I write on here is never based solely on one person, it’s a mishmash of previous experiences that have lead me to form opinions and advice surrounding that topic.

What do you think? Do you write about people you know? 

Happiness On The High Line

View from the High Line, Chelsea, New York

What To Do When You're Feeling Irritable

If I can give advice on what to do if you’re being irritable, it’s only because my dwarf persona would be grumpy. If I’m hungry, I’m grumpy. Tired, I’m grumpy. Got less than A in a test, I’m very grumpy. I’m (sort of) joking, but I have learnt that being a Phil when everyone else is being Pegasus serves neither me nor the people who have to endure me. Dylan Moran’s irascible Benard is hilarious on TV but in real life you’d want to shove a lollypop in his mouth and tell him to get over it.
So what can you do when the world is annoying you?

Identify the cause: There’s usually a cause, even if it isn’t obvious. Maybe you are hungry (hanger is real people) or tired (tanger) or worse, both (you guessed it – thanger!) but if you can do something about the situation, do! Don’t just revel in your grumpy little cocoon. Is it happening often? Go to bed earlier, even if it means sacrificing some late night social media time, or carry snacks in your bag for when the hunger monster starts to rear it’s ugly head. If you really can’t understand why, it can be helpful just to remember that it is just a feeling and that person tapping their fingers on the desk isn’t doing it deliberately to drive you crazy.

Remove yourself from triggers: If something, or someone, is causing you to be irritable, then maybe they aren’t someone you want to be around. If you can’t avoid them work out a strategy where you smile politely and move on, and then give yourself some space to breathe and feel better about the situation.

Try to cheer yourself up: I think sometimes people get a little bit stuck in their irritable ways and don’t really want to drag themselves out of it. Positivity comes from within. Take a deep breath and realise that the world is still pretty lovely, even if it seems annoying today. If you need some inspiration, I wrote about gratitude here. Would a cup of tea make you feel better? (The answer for me is usually yes). Or better yet why not try to do something nice for someone else: making someone else happy is a sure fire way of putting some positivity back into your life. 

It seems like a silly thing but there are times where I wouldn’t want to be around me, and I want to work hard on not being a grumpy guts. So I hope you enjoyed my two cents on the matter, and if you have any advice for when you’re Oscar the Grouch please do let me know!