Accepting criticism is never an easy thing to do. It’s extremely hard to accept it from people we know, but in my opinion, it’s even harder to accept criticism or negative comments from random Internet people. Why you ask? Because these people who you don’t know and don’t know you, or maybe only sort of know you, are criticizing you for the way you live, for your ideology, and who you are as a person. You become defensive because you feel like you or whoever else you’re writing about(the supporting roles in the story of your life), are being attacked unfairly and unjustly and you want to attack back, let the person know they have no right to say these things about you or others in your life. It’s human nature to do so. I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself in that very situation. But by lashing back in anger, nothing really is accomplished. The comments section of your blog will just become a shouting match, with no real winner and all that usually ends up being accomplished is that you may or may not end up looking like a crazy person with severe anger issues to your readers. And let me tell you, that tends to be a real turnoff to most readers. Readers who comment, they want to have a conversation with you, learn more about what’s going on with you in a specific post, but when they see you in a yelling contest with a commenter, they find themselves wondering if that’s how you’re going to react to all commenters, and online drama is never, ever a fun thing.
I’ve been there. People have left comments on my articles and on discussions I’ve started on Fetlife and I’ve wanted to rip the commenter a new one. I’ve even gone as far as a couple of times as typing out a not so nice reply, but before I hit that enter button and let the world see that maybe I don’t have a grip on my anger, I have to stop and think. Do I want people to think that I’m a raging a**hole and am going to act that way every time someone leaves me a comment that I don’t agree with? Do I want people to see me stooping down to a childish level of name calling and mudslinging? While I may think I’m 100% justified in my response to random Internet trolls or people giving me advice that I didn’t ask for, others will not see it that way. If you are wanting to attract readers to your blog, learning how to curb your knee-jerk responses and anger is a very important tool you will need to have to keep your readers coming back and to also attract new readers.
- Check yo self before you wreck yo self - While I am not a fan of rap music, these words from rapper Ice Cube are extremely wonderful words of wisdom. When you get negative and hurtful comments on your post, before responding to them, take a moment. Step back, do not type that hateful swear word and name calling filled reply that is your first instinct. Take a moment and think about how you want readers to see you. All they know about you is what you share with them online in your posts and how you reply to comments. Let them see that you know how to act like a civil and mature human being by not giving into your knee jerk reactions. Like I said earlier, if your replies to commenters you don’t like are angry and hateful, they’re going to see you as an angry and hateful person. As well as some other not nice things.
- Just Smile and Wave - Like the Penguins of Madagascar, just smile and wave. When you get those not so friendly comments, you have a couple of options when it comes to handling them. You can just ignore them completely, delete or edit their comment, or you can handle their comment as a calm and rational person. I highly recommend the last option myself. Once you’ve calmed down, realize that the negative comments aren’t about you, but more about the person who wrote them. Unfortunately, there are people out there who love to be mean just for the sake of being mean and nothing you say or do will change this person’s opinion. But despite this kind of behavior, treat the person with respect. Remember the saying kill them with kindness? That’s the best way to shut these kind of people down. By being respectful in your reply to them, you’re taking away their ammunition against you away. They’re hoping to get a negative response from you. Also, if you’re writing a blog post about a specific topic that has facts and you get readers disagreeing with what you’ve said, ask them why, ask them for facts that support what they’ve stated. It’s also important to keep your replies focused on the facts and not personal feelings. Once you start making things personal, the dialogue will just spiral out of control.
- Don’t Waste the Pretty - This quote is from a book about dating advice, but it applies here as well. It’s hard to ignore the negative comments. They hurt. Even though these are people you don’t know, it still hurts and is hard to let go. Don’t give these people your pretty, don’t let them steal your happiness or confidence. Chances are, they’re just unhappy and as we all know, misery loves company. Don’t become their company. Remember how brave you are for putting yourself out there and sharing your ideas with the world.
Dealing with commenters on your blog isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Everyone always has an opinion on how you should live your life and handle things and there are others out there who are going to troll because that’s what they do. But don’t let those haters out there derail you from sharing your journey with the world.
Here are a few links that have some more tips for how to deal with negative commenters:
- 7 Helpful Tips on Dealing with Negative Comments
- Haters and Critics: How to Deal with People Judging You and Your Work
- How to Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media and Blog Posts Infographic
- How to Deal with Negative Comments as a Blogger