Dealing with Negative People Online (and taking my own advice)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Refresh Summit South on dealing with negativity on social media/blogging, whether it be someone being negative towards you, or falling into the comparison trap and having negative feelings about yourself. I have been meaning to blog about the two main points I discussed with the ladies in attendance, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about turning a talk into words, and due to an unpleasant exchange with a neighbor on Friday, I decided to use it as an example for a blog post on one of my two main points.

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Being real here. One thing that I struggle with is holding my tongue. It’s a constant battle, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging (I can go back and edit before hitting send.) Even with that filter of sorts in place, I still get myself in trouble from time to time for things that I say, that I really should just keep to myself. I can get angry in a hurry, and instead of giving myself time to think and cool down, I often spout off and it ends up leading to more damage. The Bible is clear on this, and says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19), but boy is this one tough for me!

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You can make fun of me for a lot of things and I will let it roll off my back, but to state something about my husband or my child as a fact that is NOT true, is something I have a hard time biting my tongue about. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here is my own learning moment:

Our neighborhood has it’s own private Facebook group, which in theory is awesome, but sometimes not so awesome because as of late it has turned into a huge gripe fest. People complaining about folks speeding, running stop signs, dogs pooping in their yard etc. All of these things are valid complaints, but really, blasting your neighbors online for speeding it’s well, very neighborly, and we have had some issues with some not so friendly folk posting negative things. Anyway, somehow, on Friday there was an assumption made about my husband that was NOT true, and it turned into a nasty argument between me and a lady in my neighborhood I don’t really know. Come to find out from other neighbors letting me know, this is not the first time this particular neighbor has been less than neighborly. Part of me felt good about it, knowing that other people were “on my side” in letting me know how difficult this person is in general, but then I realized that honestly, I probably just should have kept my mouth shut to begin with and not even engaged with her, and it could have avoided a long morning of frustration.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the kind of situation I spoke about at Refresh Summit (how to get through/avoid/act kindly in) and here I was doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. It all happened so fast I didn’t put two and two together and then realized I had messed up. If I had followed my own advice, maybe it would have had a different outcome, and hopefully I have learned from this and will be quick to listen and slow to speak next time. Instead of what I did, the following are things I should have done (things I shared at Refresh Summit for dealing with bullies/negative people online).

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1.) Realize you aren’t going to change them: I an usually spot someone pretty set in their ways from the beginning of a conversation, but my desire to defend myself can get in the way of realizing that no matter what I say or try to “prove”, people like this are just not going to change. It doesn’t matter if the facts are right in front of you, they will argue with you until the cows come home, so it’s wise to just save your breathe and realize nothing you say is going to change them.

2.) Don’t feed the animals: With a desire to be right and people please, this one can be tough. Not engaging or “feeding the animals” is a good tactic for keeping the peace. Sometimes it’s just best not to get involved. There have been so many times in my “blog life” where I have wanted to set the record straight or stand up for myself, but I knew that in doing so it would just add fuel to the fire, and I am glad I chose to ignore in the end. When I engage, I usually end up saying something I will regret later.

3.) Get some perspective: Perspective is a funny thing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being the victim we forget that a lot of people lash out because they themselves are or were at one time, victims. Hurt people hurt people. If you can take a step back and remember that simple statement, that those hurting themselves in turn hurt others, and instead of getting angry, feel sorry for the person, it will start to soften your heart towards them and help diffuse frustration.

4.) Forgive: There have been times in my blogging and social media life where people have really hurt my feelings. I still remember a very specific time where I was on a run replaying something someone had said to me online over and over in my head, trying to figure out why people are so mean to those they don’t really know, when I suddenly felt like I was supposed to forgive them. Through gritted teeth (because yall, I really didn’t WANT to forgive them) I said out loud “I forgive you, and Lord HELPE to really mean it”. I had such an overwhelming freeing feeling come after that prayer. it was SO hard to say and it took awhile to work up to, but once I let go of it, the anger and frustration had no power over me anymore. After all, the Bible calls us to forgive others, just as God forgave us (Mark 11:25).

5.) Move on: This one usually takes me a little bit of time, but moving on helps diffuse the anger that comes with seeing and hearing negative things about us. Remember that not everyone is going to think just like you, or be your BFF, and that’s ok. We are all so different, and some people just are going to flat out not get along with you. Move on, and as queen Elsa would say, LET IT GO! I know I know, so much easier said than done, but your heart will thank you if you can move past it and not dwell on it or let your thoughts constantly go back to a wrong done to you.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful, and please know that if you ever need to talk to anyone about any of these issues, I would be more than happy to oblige. Email me any time at heatherslookingglass@gmail.com Have a great Monday!

QOTD: Which of these 5 things do you struggle with most? Have you ever been the victim of online negativity?

Dealing with Blog Negativity

 

Hi everyone! First of all a warm welcome to the new readers coming over after Healthy Living Summit posts, sent from other people’s recaps, etc. Welcome to RWS! Sit down, stay awhile! Check out the About Me section and my Top Posts section for starters!

One of the sessions I attended at HLS was on dealing with blog negativity. Imagine that, someone leaving mean and negative comments on a blog!

blog negativity

Who would EVER do a thing like that, hhhmmm? If you have a blog and have not yet had to deal with this, consider yourself lucky. I feel like I get a fair share here because I choose to be very real on my blog. Of course, I like to try to keep things positive and upbeat, but at the same time, I don’t gloss over real issues, problems I am dealing with, and the way I really feel about things.

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life isn’t always rainbows and flowers. I am NOT perfect!

Constructive criticism vs. mean comments

As much as I would love to give everyone the benefit of the doubt (and I REALLY try to) some people are just what I like to call “a bad egg.” They are going to find something mean to say, and then cover their backs by saying it was “constructive criticism.” This is one of the things the panel at HLS talked about…there is a difference in CONSTRUCTIVE (building up and helpful criticism) and just being mean , hurtful, and evil for no good reason.

I think the biggest problem is, we have these people hiding behind their mask that is the computer screen, and who feel like it gives them free reign to say whatever to whomever they choose. I mean really, is it something you would say in real life to a friend? Then why would you think it’s ok to say to a stranger? You don’t know what people are going through behind closed doors.

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mommy says not to talk to strangers

Creating your own reality

Another thing we talked about is creating your own reality. Hate to break it to the haters, but it’s my blog, my space, and I can write on it whatever I choose, and I can choose to hit the button labeled spam. Not to mention….I can track your IP address and see if you have ever commented before. If I don’t want mean comments on my blog, I can block them. If I want to share my opinion on a controversial topic, I can. If I KNOW there is a blog out there that is going to upset me, I can choose not to read it. (Why people waste their time reading and commenting on blogs that “annoy” them blows my mind. Time is so precious, friends!) I remember the first mean comment I ever got…I was devastated, and it upset me for days. It seemed to be all I could think about, until one day I realized by letting it disrupt my day, that person had WON! I refuse to give people the satisfaction, so now I just get over it and move on. Not everyone is going to like my blog and I am totally ok with that.

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Cool off before responding

This is where I have failed in the past and let my temper get the better of me. It is in my nature to immediately write out a snarky response, and have kind of a “take that”attitude, which isn’t very kind on my part, and won’t help the situation. I am human, I make mistakes (a LOT of them, trust me!) But this is an area where I feel I have really grown over the past years of blogging. If someone leaves a negative comment instead of responding right away, I get away from my computer, think about it for awhile, and 9 times out of 10, I end up responding differently (and more ladylike!) then I would have if I had answered right away. Let cooler heads prevail!

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This cream colored puppy has TOTALLY taken the spotlight, I need to take a w-a-l-k and cool off before I deal with her.

Ultimately, how you choose to handle negativity on your blog is up to you, it’s YOUR blog! Yahoo!!! Some may ignore, some may delete, and some may confront. You have to choose what is right for you, your personality, and your blog. My main takeaway would be to not let a naysayer control your emotions. They aren’t worth it! For every negative comment, think of the dozens of comments you get telling you how much people love your blog, how inspiring you are, etc. THOSE are the ones you want to stick with you, and that is why I blog. To help, to give hope, and to inspire. If it ever becomes more hurtful than helpful to myself, my relationships, and my readers, then I know it is time to stop. Blog negativity is real, it’s rampant, and there is only so much we can do. I think it’s wise to have an action plan in place before it happens to you so that you don’t make a decision you will regret later. I am rooting for you and hope you don’t let blog negativity get you down!

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QOTD: How do you deal with negativity on your blog? Do you get negative comments on your blog?