How and whether to respond at all to heckling in comments?

How and whether to respond at all to heckling in comments?
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Social media hate is a very common phenomenon nowadays. If you’re a public figure and have an active social media life, there’s no way you can avoid hecklers and their hateful comments. However, you can always learn how to respond to them properly. The question remains, however, is it even worth it?

Who leaves malicious comments and why?

Type 1: people with a negative attitude. They are accustomed to seeing evil wherever possible, and react accordingly to everything with hate. They always focus on what is bad and fail to see the positives.

Type 2: people who want to boost their self-esteem. They boil inside if they see that you are better at something or have more than them. By pointing out other people’s weaknesses in public, they try to show their superiority and strength.

Type 3: people who seek fame. They hope that a post with their comment will get thousands of likes or someone will take a screenshot of their opinion in the media. And as you know, it is much easier to attract attention with a negative than a positive.

How to distinguish constructive criticism from hate?

In order to distinguish between a kind person and a regular hater, it is enough to set a certain “filter” for yourself. It consists of the following questions:

  1. Is the person an expert on the topic he is commenting on? If not, why take his opinion into account?
  2. Is the person trying to offend you, or is he explaining in a specific way what he didn’t like or caused his negative impressions?

For example: “I didn’t understand anything from your article. A lot of pouring water” – here the reader is not praising, but expressing the opinion that there is little specificity in the article. “Some nonsense” – this is the voice of the hater.

How to properly respond to a hater?

When confronted with a hater, experts advise, first of all, to think about the goals of the response, because, as a rule, any response generates a new wave of hater and leads to an escalation of the conflict. If it is important for you to maintain mental stability, the best thing to do is to block the haters and delete comments, possibly reporting users to the platform moderators. However, if the hate threatens your professional reputation or other values you need to defend, respond, but set boundaries so you don’t get drawn into a pointless discussion. On the other hand, when you witness a hater targeting another person, respond by showing support – write something nice to show them their value and give them encouragement in their fight against the hater.

If the negativity is not justified or constructive in any way, above all, don’t add fuel to the fire. Don’t fight hate with hate, because that’s what the hater expects – he wants to throw you off balance and force you to play the game on your own terms. An angry response will not only not solve the problem, but will make you feel even worse. You also shouldn’t make excuses or justifications – this way you expose your weaknesses, and it’s an opportunity for the healer to launch another attack.

You can’t swim without violating the surface of the water. In the same way, you can’t be an Internet user without exposing yourself to a hater. Sooner or later you are bound to feel it, so – instead of worrying about possible hateful or offensive comments – continue to do what is important to you. Remember, however, that haters don’t need a reason to hate, and most often their victims didn’t deserve such treatment in any way. So don’t look for fault in yourself and don’t take what online haters write to heart.

main photo: Zolkin

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