Someone trolling your comments? Here’s how to handle the h8ers
You squeezed into your big girl business owner pants and hit the ridiculously scary publish button.
You were really excited about the content and felt kinda proud about the ideas you shared. It wasn’t really controversial, but you did let loose a little bit and show a tiny slice of personality.
You were feeling baller AF. (I doubt people still say that…what are the kids saying? The Peter Pan adults?)
Until…*there.* Someone left a not-so-nice (okay, totally unnecessary and rude) comment. Not only do they disagree with you, but they had some particularly unkind things to say about you as a person and your intelligence.
You’ve got yourself a troll, my friend.
Unfortunately, the more you put yourself out there and share your content, the more you open yourself up to the haters. Here’s how to shake ‘em off, just like Ms. Swift so sagely advises.
Step 1: Know it’s not about you.
Trolls and haters are a special kind of person. The kind that feels better about themselves by putting others down.
There’s definitely some psychoanalysis we could do here, but I won’t digress. Even if the armchair (…literally?) psychologist in me really, really wants to.
But the thing is their nasty, not-welcome comments aren’t usually about you. Sure, someone might take umbrage at your liberal use of lusty adjectives and cussing. That’s a personal preference and totally fine – just gives you a clue they aren’t your ideal client.
And, yes, someone might disagree with what you say. Everyone’s got opinions, and hearing different perspectives can be eye-opening and enlightening.
Sometimes, though, people just want to be mean. What you need to recognize is, when a hairy troglodyte visits you and starts leaving non-constructive or less-than-thoughtful comments, that it’s not about you.
For every person using the comments section of your blog, YouTube video, social media posts, what have you as their own hate platform, there are 10, 50, 100 other people who found it helpful.
Sadly, they aren’t usually as vocal as the haters but know that they’re there. Cheering you on. Outraged on your behalf. They’re the ones who have been on your email list for two years and suddenly email you a really heartfelt response to your latest post.
The naysayers tell you you’re wrong and deny that it’s true, but you – and something you said – touched on an issue they have. Don’t let it get you down or zap your confidence.
Step 2: Delete or ignore.
Always remember: You own the space.
(As much as any one can *OWN* their account on Squarespace, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, YouTube, Twitter, etc. etc. etc.)
You are absolutely 100% within your rights to moderate the comments and delete them or ignore them as you see fit.
I mean, it’s not *exactly* a free-for-all, only-allow-sparkly-comments license… But it’s your decision what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t. This is of course different for everyone, but it’s entirely within your control.
You can choose to review all comments before they’re posted (on some platforms). You can choose to delete ones you find particularly offensive (more offensive than your ex’s taste in music). You can choose to ignore ones that aren’t worthy of a response and are just meant to provoke you anyway (“You suck.”).
Hell, you can even turn off comments. Especially good for the special snowflakes among us. Ahem.
Whatever you do and however you opt to handle the nefarious comments that are hurled your way, never forget that it’s a choice.
You can choose to let them get to you. You can choose to get pissed off. You can choose to retaliate. Or…you can choose to view it as a badge of honor. (Your very own troll!) You can choose to see it as a learning experience. You can choose to rise above the bullshit and not contribute to the hate.
(Whoa, if I didn’t know myself, I’d think that almost sounded political…)
Step 3: Engage smartly.
If you read through Step 2 and were thinking, “I’m not backing down from a challenge!” right on, friend. #YouDoYou
There’s something to be said for not accepting defeat, for not going down without a fight, for not allowing yourself to be bullied (or trolled).
It can feel exceptionally fabulous to stand up for yourself and something you believe in – whatever that looks like.
Might I suggest not spouting off a colorful-language-laced response and just reciprocating the hostile vibes? Call me soft-bellied and old-fashioned and a freakin’ wimp, but two wrongs don’t make a right.
Oh, I’m sure it feels good in the moment to throw down the gauntlet and totally eviscerate that trolly troll. But you’re kinda no better than them if you’re playing the same game, you know?
Consider responding with your characteristic wit instead.
Example: A fellow business owner/friend I follow on Instagram was getting those annoying “More people should see your posts. DM us now to find out how we can grow your following to 10K and beyond” comments. She’s a pretty spunky (to put it mildly), no-BS kinda person, and her response was absolutely golden: “That’s not how we comment around here.”
(I’m paraphrasing quite a bit and leaving out some of the more witty witticisms in her reply, but the point is the same: Teach people what’s acceptable. It’s like that saying with approximately 70 trillion attributions about how we teach people to treat us. Why not teach people how to engage with our content? Bloody brilliant.)
Develop an on-brand response to dismiss the haters that feels good to you. Could be teaching them, could be a wrist slap, could be one of those serious jokes, could be a way that showcases your expertise even more.
And deploy it ruthlessly when your comments get hijacked.
Here’s the thing: When you put yourself out there, whether it’s with a new blog post, a guest post, an interview, or even just a comment on someone else’s content, you’re opening yourself up to criticism.
That’s not always fun.
But it’s a big part of showing up, being visible, and owning and growing a business. That will come with haters and fans. How you choose to handle them is entirely up to you.