I was recently reading an article by writer Kathy Carprino on how she was insulted on LinkedIn after sharing and commenting on a friend's article on parenting traits. "The parenting trait that I indicated was my favorite in the list was humility," she shared. "I won’t dignify the insult I got by repeating it verbatim, but basically, the commentator smacked me down with a few sentences on how I don’t display any humility, so how can I say I like it?"
It made me realize that yes, I have also read my share of crass and uncalled for statements online from people who don’t even know me. Whether it’s about something I’ve written, or during a match on one of my online games, people think that it’s okay to talk trash at and about other people, simply because they’re hiding behind the safety of a computer monitor.
The thing is, insulting and bashing other people online is never okay. If it’s not something you’d do in the real world, then it’s not something that you should do to someone you don’t even know online. Sadly, not everyone subscribes to being respectful and ethical, so if you come across someone who seems hell-bent on making you feel bad, here are a few things that you can do.
1. Let it pass.
Seriously, you don’t have time for that kind of negativity. If it’s a one-off comment that doesn’t really matter in the long run, then just ignore it. Frustrate the person who insulted you by not giving his insult the time of day.
2. Confront them.
Often, the bad juju goes away when you ignore it, but there are some persistent people who seem to have nothing better to do than to annoy others. If in case they keep on pushing the issue, confront them by replying to their comment or message in a neutral tone. It is possible to engage in a healthy discussion without being nasty, so don't stoop down to their level even if "they started it.. If they're still respond crassly, then go back to the first number—ignore them.
3. Own the names that they call you.
There are many disrespectful people out there who blatantly call you out on what they think are your flaws—whether it be your body, your intelligence, or your status in life. While these may hurt a great deal, one of the best things you can do about them is to turn them into something positive and own them. As what Game of Thrones character Tyrion Lannister tells John Snow, “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”
4. Take anonymous haters for what they really are: cowards.
People who needlessly comment and criticize without merit and who insist on hiding behind fake names and profiles don’t have the courage to face you head on in a mature discussion, so they’re really just cowards, which basically negates everything that they have to say. If you want to go a step further, call them out—ask them for their real names, and invite them to a real conversation. Once they deflect, change the topic, or insult you, then you've basically proven your point.
5. Report and block them.
Disengage by silencing them from your end. Social media apps give you the option to block people so you won’t have to deal with them anymore. If they find other ways to reach you and the insults have escalated to threats, screenshot the incident and approach the authorities.