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How To Know When You Should Respond To A Hater

I really hate to admit what I’m about to write but I also believe it will be therapeutic for me (and help many people). So here it goes…

 

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On November 26th, my wife and I were spending the day preparing for the arrival of our second son. I had taken off that day specifically to help with last minute household needs, to spend some quality time with my first son, and just relax and get in a good state of mind before the hecticness that comes with the arrival of a new baby.

Even though ”off” from working that day, I still made periodic check-ins to my personal and public social media accounts (my online community is such an integral part of my life, it’s not labor to make updates and respond to certain questions).

Little did I know, a single comment on Facebook would change the course of my day(s).

Scrolling through the wall posts on my public Facebook page, I saw this:

 

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I couldn’t believe such an accusation was being made, so I read it again to verify what I had just seen. Still couldn’t believe it so I read it a third time, but this time very slowly. After three reads and a few seconds of pondering, I decided to engage and responded to her comment.

BIG MISTAKE!

The second I responded to her, she won. Concerned with why she wrote the comment, I entangled myself in an emotional and time intensive web. I visited her Facebook page. I googled her name. I visited her website. I discussed the comment with my wife. I checked my Facebook page every 2 minutes waiting for her to respond to my response. Bottom line, I wasted precious time and energy.

Why did I allow her comment to get under my skin?

Because I’m human. Negative comments hurt me. I have posted many times in the past about the importance of turning a deaf ear and blind eye to your haters and I try to do it, but I would be lying to say their comments still don’t have an affect. However, what makes a larger impact (and something I can control) is going beyond reading a comment and deciding to engage with a critic. Once you decide to react, you’re headed down a slippery slope that often empowers your critic and leaves you with little to no benefit.

After a few rounds of back and forth with the aforementioned commenter, I realized she was misinformed, angry, and judging (a combination of characteristics most haters possess). Instead of just allowing my anger (because of wasting my time, especially on such a special day) to fester, I channeled it in a promise to myself on how I plan to determine if I should engage with critics in the future.

I believe this “Hater Response Model” can be applied by anyone and in most situations. There are three very simple and easy to follow questions. If the answer is “YES” to any, I suggest reacting. If the answer is “NO” to all, move on and upward:

 

1. Do you care about the commenter?

Is the comment coming from a friend, respected family member or someone you hold in high regard?

In this case, the answer for me was: NO

 

2. Is the comment part of a larger trend?

A few wack comments are meaningless, but we should pay attention to a significant number (or growing trend).

In this case, the answer for me was: NO

 

3. Is the comment bullying?

Given the critical state of cyber-bullying, it’s not wise to take such comments lightly. When threats arise that include violence, stalking, or a hate crime, the commenter should not be responded to directly but you should react. Engage by contacting your local law enforcement department. Here is a great resource on state anti-bullying laws and policies.

In this case, the answer for me was: NO

 

Criticism will always comes with a sting, but knowing when to respond is priceless.

 

Paul C. Brunson

Mentor, Entrepreneur, & Television Host. My goal is to help you live your best life. I’m the world’s most influential matchmaker, founded and exited three businesses, host two television shows, spent nearly a decade working directly for a billionaire, and share my experiences by mentoring through Knowledge Share