How To Gracefully Deal With Internet Trolls
thoughtful tips for responding to hecklers, trolls and other negative people of the internet
Do you have an online presence? Thinking about creating one? Just got your first piece of hatemail and feeling the feels?
Don’t sweat it.
Negative feedback is one of the most common fears of anyone with a public presence, and yet, it’s one of sure fire things I can guarantee you will happen once you get one.
Interacting with your first internet troll is a right of passage.
It means you’re making it big.
A troll only pops up once you’ve started emotionally connecting with people, and while most people who connect with your work will love you, no matter what you do for a living, you won’t be able to please everyone.
Whether you’re on your first, your second and even your 50th piece of negative feedback, it’s important to remember that receiving feedback - positive for negative - is a sign you’re making waves. Feedback is a sign you’re actually reaching people - and that’s exactly what you want to be doing.
Feedback is a good thing.
An even better thing, is that most of the commentary you’ll receive in response to what you share on the internet will be complimentary - readers reasoning with your story, people being inspired and helped by what you’ve shared.
But . . .
What about that email you just got with bible verses, condemning you and everything you love . . to Hell?
What about that commenter on Facebook, heckling your prices?
Or that recent phone call consult you give, where a prospective client doubts your skill or authenticity . . . to your face?
Ah, negative feedback. I know it, love it, and loathe it well.
Responding to it? Well, that’s what this post is here to discuss.
How to Deal with Internet Trolls
an internet troll is someone who posts, emails and shares energy that is negative, seemingly just for the sake of being negative.
Your Internet Space = Your Living Room
Your Website, your Facebook Page, your Twitter Wall - these places are your internet outposts. Your website is your home and your social pages are the local parks where you hang out. You have every right to control who enters your space and is allowed to stay in it.
When a stranger violates your privacy in the physical world, do you throw them out? Or do you allow them to stay?
Based on your answer to this question, you can simply get rid of an ugly comment, email or post by deleting it - getting it out of your spaces as fast as possible. And that’s your right, as the homeowner, to do so.
Ask The Question, Are They Adding to the Conversation?
Take a look at the comment and the commenter. Is this person provoking someone into an argument or trying to start a fight? Posting mean things without connection to the content? Or, are they adding to the conversation?
If they are adding to and engaging in the conversation in an intelligent yet contrasting way (such as ‘the Devil’s Advocate’ types), it’s okay to respond openly and respectfully to the sharer with a thank you or with your point of view, rather than simply deleting the comment. Only respond once - never more than that.
Reject the Energy - Don’t Even Let It Come Into Your Space
When you respond to a negative comment, you take it into your space and own it. You chew on it, think about it and thoughtfully consider a response to it. In other words, you spend time thinking, being with and considering the negative, giving the comment more time to emotionally affect you. And it does.
By deleting and ignoring internet trolls - you’re rejecting the energy of their comments and refusing to allow it absorb into your energy field. You’re preventing their energy from coming into your space at all, giving yourself the opportunity to walk away from the situation unaffected.
Remember, your website is private property - it’s not a democracy. If someone mistreats you for any reason, it’s completely within your right to remove this person from your space, by deleting their comment, banning them from your site or by deleting, rather than responding to, your email.
Just as constructive criticism can be helpful, all situations and trolls provide us with an opportunity to grow. There is a value and a purpose in you receiving a negative comment. Sometimes though, that purpose is to teach you about email security (it may be time to change you who is and is not allowed to access you directly), or to give you an opportunity to write a thoughtful blog post about your experience to help others.
To end, you don't owe anyone a response - especially a disrespectful someone.
But before you delete a comment completely, consider what the purpose may be or the lesson you may need to learn in dealing with this internet troll. When you do, you’ll have a better time handling it, overall.
Overtime, dealing with internet trolls thickens your skin and desensitizes you to the opinions of what complete strangers think of you. Which, is actually a good thing.
For more straightforward tips on gracefully managing the public just like this one, check out the Managing Your Gifts eBook.
Amanda Linette Meder is a psychic medium and online business owner, successfully running a website with over 2 million visitors each year. She coaches other psychics, mediums, and healers on how to develop their gifts and their businesses, without losing their sanity. Learn more about Amanda here.