Every day I feel like I hear another report about bullying in our schools. We
all agree that this is horrible and has to stop. What we sometimes don’t realize
is that adults in general, and cake decorators in particular, can be bullies
too. Social media has made a small world even smaller.
Someone commented to a friend the other day that they had no idea that cake people could be so mean. This is the “not so sweet” truth about our profession. Somehow the sweet little cake ladies and guys turn into saber tooth tigers ready for the attack. If I am honest, I will tell you that I have been attacked in cake groups and on message boards and that I have probably treated someone else unkindly. I have vowed to try to be encouraging and a better friend. I hope that some of you will join me in this.
What do I think is not ok? Let’s take them one at a time. Posting a cake made by someone else on your Facebook page to make fun of it is really not a nice thing to do. A friend in Canada posted the other day that someone in her general area was making a practice of doing this. A witty little comment like on Cake Wrecks is different from what I am talking about. I refer to the straight up mean, derogatory comments people make. Your snide words might choke the creativity out of that decorator. They might not try again, improve, grow because they are scared of people slamming their work.
Unsolicited critiques of someone’s work is just down right rude. I had posted work from my students the other day on my page. A decorator that I was FB friends with, but did not know personally, posted a critique with a link for instructions and the name of a book I should buy. Despite my efforts to try to explain that this was work done by students in a very short, intensive class, each of his comments kept adding a little dig about either me or my students. I
wrote him privately, telling him this was inappropriate and that I was removing his comments. He apologized, but with just one more dig. He was then unfriended. What did he have to gain by trying to make my students feel bad about their work?
My friend Janet Rosebeary posted a picture of a textured buttercream wedding cake on her business page. A couple people started posting that the cake looked sloppy and other rude comments. Bear in mind that the cake was exactly what the bride wanted and was perfect for that woman’s reception.
Nonetheless, this mom and daughter duo decided they knew better and, even worse, that they needed to share their opinion on the cake. What motivated them to need to post that opinion publicly?
What happened to the old adage that if you don’t have something nice to say, you don’t say anything at all? Do we truly need to share our negative thoughts? If you think a decorator’s work is not good, do you have to tell them AND EVERYONE THEY KNOW publicly?
I have been in several parts of the world lately, and in almost every spot, I would hear a tale about the one angry or mean decorator in the bunch that caused fights or divides; that wanted to control the direction of the club or cake show long after their term ended; that caused the group membership to decline. I will tell you that there are people who have toxic personalities. These people build up their self esteem by tearing down others. We probably cannot change them, but we do not have to encourage or enable them. Let’s start celebrating the good in people and encouraging their progress as decorators. Think anything you want privately, share your negative thoughts very sparingly and share your public thoughts with great care.
Many of us have just one page that includes our family, friends, and business contacts. I cringe every time I see someone blast a family member, fellow decorator or stranger in a very public, very angry and hurtful way. I wonder why that needed to be public? Did we all really need to know that the women at the bar are “hos” going after your man? Do we need to know that your ex is a putz? Do we need to know that you think so and so is a terrible decorator? Why can’t we filter our thoughts?
Please, let’s listen to Ellen Degeneris and “Be Kind to One Another”. Before you start to post a thought, ask yourself if the world needs that thought. Don’t build your own self esteem by tearing down those around you. If you look for the good in others, you will find that soon people associate YOU with goodness. If you’re mean, well, you’re just going to be thought of as mean. I promise to try to do this. Will you?