The Awkwardness of Saying “No Thanks”

I received a huge compliment yesterday and am now going to take the risk of hurting the feelings of the person who paid me the compliment. Say what?!

Sarah, of CraftySorcha, nominated my blog for a Liebster Award. Wasn’t that generous and kind of her?

And I’m declining the nomination. Isn’t that callous and unkind of me?

I hope I can explain myself well enough so that both Sarah and you will understand.

It’s not that I’m not flattered. I love Sarah’s blog and have had great interactions with Sarah. The fact that she would think of me in the context of a blog award makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

It’s not that I don’t want to answer her questions. While I consider myself an introvert, if you read my blog at all, you know that I’m willing to talk about myself. Her questions are interesting and thought-provoking, and not too personal at all.

It’s not that I can’t think of bloggers to nominate for the award. I follow many blogs avidly, both because I enjoy the content and because I have come to feel very friendly toward the authors. I’m actually kind of stunned at how much I enjoy reading the blogs of others, and how many great ones I’ve discovered in the three months since I started my own.

So, what exactly is my problem, that I don’t just graciously accept the nomination and pass it on?

The first reason relates to the business of nominating other bloggers. I can’t really figure out how many I would need to nominate because the Liebster rules seem to vary (see my next point). But, whether it’s 5 or 10 or 20, it isn’t enough. I don’t want to select a few writers/friends and leave others out. I follow blogs because I love them, a lot of them, and cannot feel comfortable choosing a few to name.

The second reason for declining the nomination is that I’ve had trouble nailing down the rules. Sarah helpfully included the rules as she understood them but, when I did a little further research, I found that the rules people follow when accepting and passing on the nomination vary widely.

How many bloggers would I need to nominate? Not clear. What if they’ve already received the award? Is that an issue? Who knows. There seems to be a stipulation that nominated bloggers have fewer than X number of followers but what is that number? Not clear (and how does one determine that anyway?). How many questions do I ask of nominated bloggers (if any)? Not sure.

It seems the Liebster rules are like that game we played as children, where we would line up and the first person would whisper a sentence into the ear of the next child, who would whisper it in the next ear, and so on down the line. The joke was always hearing how the sentence would morph, when passed from mouth to mouth.

All of that makes me uncomfortable, in part because, if I’m going to nominate others, as the award asks me to do, I would want to pass correct rules on to them, and I just don’t know where to find them.

The final reason is that the Liebster nomination both does, and does not, make me think of a chain letter. It is not completely pointless like a chain letter—it doesn’t threaten dire consequences for breaking the chain but rather pays a lovely compliment. But, like a chain letter, it does involve other people without asking their permission. By nominating other bloggers, I am speaking for their time, asking them to self-disclose in ways they may or may not wish to, and putting them in the position of passing the whole endeavor on to more people, etc., etc. And I’m just not really comfortable doing that.

The only harm that I can see coming from declining this nomination is that deserving bloggers may not receive the feel-good compliment that I did. I’m actually not too worried about that because a) I am confident that the blogs I love are well loved by others, and that the bloggers have been or certainly will be nominated for the award; and b) because I and others let them know, every time they post, that we appreciate their efforts and perspectives.

The other harm, I suppose, is that I could appear surly and ungrateful in Sarah’s eyes and yours. I hope my reasons for declining make sense to all of you so that, even if you disagree with my choice, you understand my reasons for making it.

Okay! Enough time spent on this! I’m going to get back to what I really enjoy doing—reading your blogs and enjoying every minute of it!



19 thoughts on “The Awkwardness of Saying “No Thanks”

  1. I understand your feelings about turning down the award. For me that is not what my blog is about. It is wonderful to know others are appreciative of what you share of your life. I enjoy sharing what I am working on and about this beautiful place I live in. Hopefully I have and will make friends along the way and just maybe inspire others to create. No award needed just a kind compliment once in a while! Like the one I am giving you on your enjoyable blog!

  2. Dear Kerry, Louise is right! You have said it all so beautiful and careful. Well done and I am glad to have discovered your blog and ‘meeting’ you a couple times a week. Hugs from Ohio!

    • Thanks to you, Johanna–you’re always so kind and supportive! It makes me glad to have started the blog, just to have met people like you and Louise and so many others!

  3. You nailed it. Chain letter. I thanked my chainee and then the chain stopped. Felt a bit guilty for a few days but got over it.

  4. Thank you for explaining clearly why you declined the award. I understand.
    Just one point though? You say: “But, like a chain letter, it does involve other people without asking their permission. By nominating other bloggers, I am speaking for their time, asking them to self-disclose in ways they may or may not wish to, and putting them in the position of passing the whole endeavor on to more people, etc., etc. And I’m just not really comfortable doing that.”
    I did not realise that I couldn’t mention other bloggers on my blog without asking their permission. Sorry that I dragged you into that. I said nowhere in my post that the participation was compulsory, perhaps I should put a note on my post to clarify. I also don’t think my questions were particularly personal but ok I get that.

  5. Awards are an awkward business. The few awards that have come my way usually come with a note to say that there is no obligation to accept. Some people have notices on their side bar saying that they are an awards-free blog or that they don’t accept awards.

  6. Like you, I’m flattered by the nominations, but uninspired by them. The odd thing is the nominations never result in an award, which makes it feel fairly illegitimate. The best compliment you can pay a blogger is to visit, press “like” if you enjoy their work, and comment every once and a while.

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