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Five ways to deal with online haters

By Stacey Ross

Four years ago I experienced my first "hater." She posed as an interested client, but in reality was calling me to vent. From the grapevine (or maybe just my About page), she was aware that I am a happily married mom of two and had some luck early on in building my blog.

Somehow, I allowed myself to remain on the phone with her while she tore my brand new website apart and shared with me that, while she was barely pregnant, her husband went off and cheated on her, leaving her high and dry.

I believe right now that she had no intention of becoming a client, what-so-ever. She needed to vent. She wanted to elevate herself with someone who might take offense to her words. Yeah, I knew my site needed work, but I was just getting started. I stayed on the phone, because I thought I might close a deal.

Discerning how non-productive that incident was, I became thicker-skinned during the many other instances that folks told me why I should or should not be promoting a product, a business or an event. It is such a pity that haters can dismantle sensitive and vulnerable people. It's bullying. Just when I thought it was a machismo thing, I experienced mom-on-mom antagonism, which is a monster in itself.  It is not a gender thing – men can be just as brutal as women, trust me!

And whether it’s subtle comments, blatantly attacking someone online, condemning with biblical passages (that one's always a crack up), name-calling or just plain old harassment, it is all toxic!

Here are my top five recommendations if you find yourself confronted by online haters:

Block and delete!
Disengage! Don't add fuel to the fire if someone's approach from the get-go is offensive or antagonistic.  Just let it be, then carry on.

Consider it a compliment
It might be hard at first, but for some reason you have pushed this person's buttons. Likely it is because you are a doer and are demonstrating courage by speaking your mind, and the "hater" lives in fear and is a coward.

Continue to invest your energy in your passion
Sure, if you have doubts, reevaluate your position and confirm that you are coming from a good place, but do not cower to someone else's ill expressions.

Confront the offender
If for some reason you must remain in the same online space with these people, gently ask if they want to air out anything, as you sense that they are harboring frustrations. Do it in person, though, if possible. If they are not worth the trouble, just remain nice online and leave it alone.

Love the haters
Wish them peace and goodwill. Erase their bitter comments and judgments and, with all of your might, avoid engaging with them online, both privately and publically. Pity them for a moment, then BLOW THEM OFF.

One blogger, regarding dealing with online haters, shared, “Honestly, in the past (and not-so-distant past), these cynical comments and disapproving influences have caused me to want to pull the covers over my head, quit dancing, give up dreaming and stop daring. But I never have and never will, and neither should you.”

Bottom line: Haters need to be pitied, but also stopped in their tracks.

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

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