Friend asked me to edit their essay, now they're mad?

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#1
Our essays have really low word limits for the amount you have to put in, and we all struggle to make them short enough. My friend asked if I could look at hers and see any words that could be cut out. So I looked over her essay and I made simple changes like "the history of psychology began in the 18th century and this is the beginning of the history of it" to better worded but still saying the same thing "the study of psychology began in the 18th century" (these are just examples!).

So I didn't change anything majorly, but after seeing such changes she didn't seem very happy but never said anything to me.

Years later and she asks me to look over one of her essays but says "don't change it or edit it in anyway please don't touch it" and I was like "yeah that's fine I wouldn't do that of course not" so I looked over it and saw several mistakes that could easily be corrected, but didn't type a thing or say anything to her, I just said it was fine.

Her saying not to touch it or change it made me think back to years ago when I made those changes and how I thought I was doing what she asked me to, to cut down her word count, but years later it seems like it's still pissed her off and she hasn't bothered to say anything?

She then got her essay back and got a low grade and was really hard on herself. She doesn't take criticism well and I kinda felt bad that I didn't point out the silly mistakes to her which could've made her grade better, but wouldn't resulted in her feeling criticised rather than helped so she would've felt pissed off at me.

Do you think I should bring it up with her? Or apologise for changing her essay (even though she asked me to)? And is it better to not point out mistakes to help someone if they're only going to feel really down about it even though you're trying to help them?
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Lotus_Eater
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#2
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When people ask for help (or advice generally) they either want an honest opinion or for you to confirm that their thinking is correct. Same with essays: some want constructive criticism, others want a confidence-boost. If people aren't clear which one they need, they can't get mad when they don't get it.

You're not her tutor. If she got poor marks for easily corrected mistakes then that's on her, not you. She'll just need to learn from it for future assignments.

Taking criticism well is part of learning. If she can't do that she shouldn't be at university in the first place.
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feathergirl
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You shouldn't have to apologize for changing her essay, it was years ago, she'll survive.
Generally when my friends ask me to proof read an essay, I explicitly ask them whether it's just to check spelling or grammar or whether
a passage doesn't work properly, then ask whether I should tell them about it or change it myself. If she asks you to read another, make sure you find out what she wants from you. If people genuinely want help, they won't mind you pointing out mistakes as long as you're not super mean about it.
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 8 years ago
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(Original post by feathergirl)
You shouldn't have to apologize for changing her essay, it was years ago, she'll survive.
Generally when my friends ask me to proof read an essay, I explicitly ask them whether it's just to check spelling or grammar or whether
a passage doesn't work properly, then ask whether I should tell them about it or change it myself. If she asks you to read another, make sure you find out what she wants from you. If people genuinely want help, they won't mind you pointing out mistakes as long as you're not super mean about it.
I don't really understand what she wants from me at all, because she doesn't like criticism so it's like she's basically saying read my essay but don't tell her anything negative about it? What's the point in that? I'd rather someone was honest but that's just me, I asked someone to read over my essay to check for silly mistakes and they said it was fine then I noticed some (I assumed they just didn't notice or didn't actually read it). But I'd hope if they had seen the mistakes they'd feel they could've easily said to me.
A friend also mentioned that she apparently had another friend look over her essay and they criticised her and were honest with her and she was fine with it, so it's okay for someone else to be brutal but not for me to be constructive?
She also never seems that happy when I do well.. I've been getting high essay grades and when she'd ask how I got on and I'd say she'd not smile or be like wow well done! That's great! She'd just be like well done. With a blank face.. Whereas I'm always super positive and encouraging about her achievements. When I finally finished an essay she responded with "good for you" which to me sounded more like "I don't give a ****".. So I think from now on I shouldn't reveal my grades but just say I passed?
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