It's never been easy for me. I can snap out something awful in a temper but I find it very difficult to be "mean" (by my yardstick - YMMV) on purpose just because I have an opening.
I wouldn't have hesitate to say it to mm in person because body language, tone of voice, an actual wink, and all kinds of other more subtle cues take the harsh edge of when they are part of the conversation. Those all get lost in electronic conversations, and things can be taken differently than intended with no real context to frame the intentions of the speaker.
I know sensitivity. I've probably been a witness to it more than anyone here. I have commented on
on over 50,000 works
, mainly poems
. Talk about sensitivity. Some of the replies I've gotten back:
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"My friends say it's great!"
"My family said that you're just being an asshole."
"This isn't school.
"I graduated top in my class from Harvard, you never even graduated from High School
; you telling me it needs work. Fuck you!"
"Oh yeah! Your work is way worse than mine
And many many other more vulgar things.
I'd say only about 2% of those I've commented on were ever appreciative. It should be noted, 99.99998% of the time when I comment on someone's work, or did--i don't really do it much anymore--i was 100% civil. 100% cordial. 100% nice. There were a very rare few times when I may have been harsh.
Now, all those bad comments above, times it by 1,000, and that how I got treated for over 10 years straight by people I tried to make better writers. Most of the 2% that were appreciative of my comments would tell anyone I helped them.
Trust me: I know sensitive people.