How to Deal with Assholes on the Internet
I like to keep it real with you guys both on the blog and on social media so I thought I would share how to deal with assholes on the internet. You see, I was talking to a close friend of mine recently about the drama that seems to ensue when you spend too much time online and how absolutely ridiculous it is. We were specifically discussing drama in the green community that seems to break out a lot on instagram, but this sort of thing can be applied to any form of social media or online interaction.
It seems like, no matter what, people just can’t resist being assholes to people who disagree with them, feel like a threat to them or their business, or don’t like their friends.
That’s just stupid, obviously, but you’d be surprised the number of times it has happened to me now and to a lot of other people I know.
Since it seems like people keep bringing it up to me and asking for advice on how to deal with assholes on the internet (quite literally), I thought it was time to blog about it in case any of you guys are dealing with the haters, the naysayers, the douchebags, the mean girls, etc. That way, the next time you’re in the midst of drama, you can remember this complete guide on how to fight back, deal with it accordingly, and give yourself a little peace of mind.
STEP 1: Breathe.
Seriously. There’s nothing worse than instantly reacting through anger and responding to some idiot with vitriol that you’ll never be able to take back. Or worse, a hastily deleted comment that about a hundred people saw before you wiped it out like a total crazy person. So, save yourself some grief and just sit on the situation before responding. Breathe it all in, let it all out, and then go to step 2.
STEP 2: Assess the situation.
It’s hard enough to deal with assholes on the internet without making a total moron out of yourself in the process so my advice, after breathing, is to stop and assess the situation. For one, is it even really worth your time? Does it dignify a response? Because if it doesn’t, why bother? And if it does, then think carefully about what you’ll say that #1 makes sense and #2 is polite and justified. You really ought to be aware of what you say to others on a public forum, in general, but that’s especially true if you’re a blogger.
STEP 3: Remember that YOU Are In Control Of You!
Once you’ve had a moment to breathe, assess WTF just happened, and stop shaking with uncontrollable rage, remember that the only thing that you can control about this situation is YOU. You can’t control the trolls, the mean girls, or their insatiable appetite for drama. All you can do is remember that YOU control what YOU do and YOU can decide to be kind, to have tact, to be thoughtful, and to encourage the conversation in a more positive direction. If all else fails, you can also decide to see yourself out of a conversation.
STEP 4: Don’t be Afraid to tell People to Back the Fuck Off.
I know I just said to be tactful, but if someone is hassling you to no end, you do have the right to tell them to back the fuck off in so many words. No, I don’t mean literally, but it’s your choice, I suppose. You are allowed to tell people that what they are doing is wrong. You are allowed to tell people that their treatment of you (and others) is not okay. I’m not telling you to give the finger to every person that mildly offends you, but you do have the right to defend yourself if you feel the need to do so. Just remember that there’s always a kind and tactful way to do it.
STEP 5: Laugh it Off.
Once you really think about what’s actually happening and what you’re actually arguing about online, doesn’t it all just seem kind of ridiculous? I mean, does it matter in the scope of real life? Because if not, maybe you should just laugh it off and move on. There’s no reason to give people or situations unnecessarily high amounts of power over you or your day.
STEP 6. Talk to a Friend You Can Trust.
If a particular situation is bothering you, why not phone an unbiased friend? They will be able to help you assess the situation with a level head and a sense of detachment. They can then help you decide on a reasonable course of action whether that’s to say what’s on your mind or stay silent.
STEP 7:React Accordingly or Don’t React At All.
Like I said, you are in control of what you do so you have the power to choose your reaction to any given situation. You can react angrily or defame yourself as much as you like. Alternatively, you can choose to not react at all and just move on with your day.
STEP 8: Take a Step Back & Realize How Ridiculous the Entire Thing Is.
While assessing the situation, you may want to consider how ridiculous this entire online feud or argument truly is. I mean, come on, you’re literally typing on your phone to someone you (most likely) don’t even know in real life. Is this going to affect you in a real, tangible way? If not, maybe it’s worth shrugging off as not worth your precious time and energy.
STEP 9: Don’t Let Yourself Become the Victim.
An important thing to remember about this entire thing is that you do not (and should not) have to be the victim in this story. That doesn’t mean you need to become the villain, either, but you can stand up for yourself in a respectful way. I’ve had many friends who found themselves bullied into submission by others online whether via a difference of opinion or in the case of bloggers, by acting as though one person stole their idea. The latter seems to be quite common for mean girl blogger tactics. One blogger will attack another on the notion that the other blogger has “stolen their idea” and it’s always something totally unoriginal – like maybe they also wrote a post about makeup. Newsflash to all the narcissistic bloggers out there: you are not a unique snowflake. Your ideas are not always made of gold. Chances are, if you’ve thought of it, it probably already exists on the internet. Get over it and get over yourself. And if you find yourself in a situation where someone is accusing you of “stealing their idea,” just keep doing you. If other people want to hate on you, let them. The actions of others is not your problem and as long as you are living your truth, you’re doing fine.
STEP 10: Remember that it’s Completely, 100% Meaningless at the End of the Day.
At the end of the day, I just want to reiterate that this entire argument you’re having is 100% meaningless. Just think about how much you could get done if you skipped the argument entirely and blogged or did a workout instead. You’d feel happier, more fulfilled, and much more accomplished. You could go get some coffee and vent to a close friend without ever answering the lunatic who’s bothering you on the internet and feel just as satisfied with an iced latté in your hand.
If all else fails, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m always here for ya 🙂
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