On Day One of the New Year, I picked up a new client. Me!

Yeah – not kidding. I actually found myself as my own Crisis PR client to start 2020.

Let me explain, I put this Facebook photo up on my page during the holiday season and, admittedly, got a lot of laughs from other veterans like myself. It depicts the internal service chiding that many of us veterans engage with one another. Call it a sibling rivalry if you will. Even some of my Air Force brethren questioned if jealously served as the motivation for the post.

Yeah, just a little bit. The U.S. Air Force treats its people well.

However, a colleague for the past 10 years whom I respect came at me pretty hard by saying and how offensive he found my post. He wound up unfriending me on Facebook. With that, I found myself in a position where I needed to take a bit of my own advice. I offer it here as a good case study for others.

I avoided my natural inclination to say something like “Lighten up, Francis.” I bet many entrepreneurs would find such a comment justifiable. Instead, I responded with a posting that essentially apologized that he took it that way, noted that I did not intend for anyone to feel offended and that veterans like myself often chide others in such was, all in good fun. Nevertheless, I went on to explain, I certainly understood and respected if he wanted to unfriend me.

I, nor anyone else for that matter, can’t expect to change a person’s mind. While I wanted to express that I didn’t agree with my now former friend’s perception of the post, I certainly wanted to avoid blowing this instance up to something bigger.

Keep this in mind. People within your audience possess every right to express their opinion just as much as you do. If they take a comment a certain way, you must respect the fact that that person can publicly call it like they see it and to explain to you their dissatisfaction. I hope this example serves to help organizations and individuals if they find themselves in a similar situation that I did for 2020.