The title is a bit dramatic and it’s not about online dating. Though that WOULD be fun. It’s about how to survive out there. How to develop a thick skin without losing your heart and your ability to share online. It can be tough. For some reason people think that they can say whatever they like online. I’m not one of them. I think you need to keep your manners in check. But THAT is also a different post. Unfortunately I think it’s just the way it goes. So I thought what the heck, I deal ok, I’ll share with you how.

My Mum can be a bit bad at email. She can be too emotional and not factor in the context and tone. Or if she does, she doesn’t give enough room for error or misunderstandings. Often she will shoot off a punchy reply, laced with tone you can’t miss and a bit of back and forth starts. I see it all the time. You get a comment and it says something awkward and perhaps badly worded. Your gut reaction is to defend yourself. For me, fight back even. But often {not always} a change of context makes all the difference, a clearer head before responding.

Consider that most of the people who say horrible things online don’t know you. They make assumptions. Hit out at someone they DO know through you. Except, you know, you have no idea who the heck this person is you’re bearing the brunt for. But really, if someone doesn’t know you and has a few paragraphs you’ve written on which to judge you {or a single photo} then that really is their problem not yours. Let it sting for a moment and forget it. It’s not worth the keystrokes it was written with.

Or they are probably just jerks. No really. Would you give someone you KNOW is a jerk free range to call you what they like and have you believe them? Heck no! If yes, maybe you need some assertiveness training or something, just saying. So why let them behave that way online. I block or delete these comments of Facebook {always reporting them as abusive} and remove them from my blog when they {rarely} occur. I invite open dialogue here, not flat out insults to me or to my readers. You should consider doing the same.

Don’t take the bait on those controversy driven websites and pages. Ever. Ignore the dribble and move on. Often by contributing to the conversation you are not only prolonging the conversation but fanning the flames. Don’t feed the trolls people. Just don’t do it. Why say to someone who is clearly horrible and ignorant that they are horrible and ignorant? It’s not like they are going to say, OMG, YES! You are SO right. Let me change my evil ways and repent. Ummm, not likely. And all that happens is now YOU are in the firing line for their venom.

If all else fails walk away for a while. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that those people live in the computer and at any time, if you wanted or needed to you could pull the plug and walk away. Sure it would be sucky to throw away all you’ve created but if it came down to your health or your page, you could and you probably would. I know I would. Don’t give them more power than they actually have. You hold the cards. Keep that firmly in mind.

So there you go. I hope it helps someone to protect themselves a little better. Did it? How do you protect your heart online?

  • Hi Melissa

    well I can’t type too much about this matter right now – but actually *you* know I can.

    I’ll leave it at that for now – you said it all and so so well – thank you. Thank you from my *heart*.

    x Loulou

    (ps or perhaps they need a good smack in the head too or more??)

  • river

    I try not to get involved in all the pettinesses, mostly they’re about things that don’t concern me anyway and I have better things to do with my time than get into online arguments with people I don’t even know.

    • I should add this to the tips. Wise words River, a great addition to the post.

  • Kakka

    Good advice Suger, I try and live by the don’t feed the trolls and move away from the controversial sites that are just there to stir things up. Your Mum sounds a lot like mine with the emails – lol. Also the tall poppy syndrome is alive and well in the blogging world, and particularly it seems amongst ‘mummy’ bloggers, it stuns me sometimes.

    • Thank you. And yes, it really isn’t worth the pain, most of the time {pretty much all of the time}.

      Stunning to me too. Though I am a little clueless about a lot of it because I just won’t participate. Tall poppy or no tall poppy.

  • Such good advice … don’t fan the flames of a troll’s fire. So not worth it. They are the ones with the issues, not you!

    • I must annoy the heck out of them with them with my quick delete and ban. 😉

  • very wise words Melissa, and well written.

    I found a photo of me on someones ‘What Were Thinking’ pinteretst board. At first I was peeved. I resisted the temptation to comment. I could have messaged them privately via facebook. I didn’t do that either. Just didn’t make sense to try and make this person like my outfit. So someone had different taste to me. I can live with that. I winged to a friend, started to understand how celebrities might feel, and left it at that.

    • Thanks Jeanie.

      The experience you described is something that might see my resolved tested. Liv was saying last night that some plus size bloggers have had their photos picked up by fat hate websites and they’ve gone viral. Then I would probably go a little postal. You did well in ranting it out with a friend and letting it go. I hope I would have the same cool response.

  • Hello! I found this post after reading your post about Blogopolis… anyway… Just wanted to lend a word of support… and since your blog is lovely I’m pretty sure you’ll be getting a lot more of them than negative comments. Still, it’s the hurtful ones that stick but I really dig your ‘rise above’ attitude.

    Catherine @ The Spring (in Sydney)

    • Thank Catherine, all kind words and support are warmly welcomed! The hurtful ones certainly have that tendency. You know, if we let them.

  • I find it so awful that people participate in this stuff. I really do believe that a lot of it stems from jealousy. People want to cut down tall poppies.

    That being said, I got my first nasty email a few weeks ago and I was flabbergasted: mostly because I am amoeba in the blogging pond and yet someone still thought I needed cutting down. The assumptions made in the email were pretty atrocious. Apparently I am entitled, spoiled and don’t work hard enough. Given that I don’t share my professional life in any way on the blog, I don’t see how anyone can draw conclusions about how hard I do or don’t work.

    I ended up ignoring it. It just wasn’t worth the bother.

    • It constantly amazes me what people feel it is necessary to share! Ahhhhhh-maaazing.

  • I’ve had this sitting open in my browser for when I’ve had the time to read it and absorb it. Yes since the day this post went up.
    I knew it would be a good one and I’m glad that even though I’ve tried to read it several times I kept it up until I felt I was committing each word to my permanent memory bank.
    Brilliant bit of advice there and I have to agree.
    I see it like Ok so I am going to be hurt or upset over someone’s nastiness, it happens and it’s human that I care but I do not need to react or show that I care. You trap more flies with honey afterall 😉

    • Thanks Miss Pink. I’m glad it was something for you. Yes, like my Mum always said, why give them the satisfaction.

      Might be time to restart your computer now though, there may be software updates. It has been a while. 😉

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