How To Deal With The Haters
Dealing with the haters - When violence isn't an option.
by Susan Craggs
Haters: we know ‘em, we thoroughly dislike them. At the ripe old age of 25, I consider myself the resident big sister of Colin - and also to our lovely readers as well - so it is with this energy we are exploring a topic we are all familiar with, however distantly: haters. Keep in mind other than being an overthinking empath, this may be my only qualification to give advice but hopefully, we can prompt some reflection - let us know what you think as well!
An important distinction to start off with between haters and bullies: where bullies target more consistently (in which case if you are being bullied, please do seek help from your support networks), haters can be more sporadic and inconsistent, sometimes even just as a once off comment or message. It doesn’t necessarily make it any less hurtful or annoying, but it can be easier to ignore! “The person behind the comment doesn’t know you personally”, say Sarah Berry (who you may know as @berrybeanpie on Instagram), and so you can “ take them less seriously.”
With haters, oftentimes their hate comes from a place of jealousy at what you’re doing. Their only perspective of you is what you’re putting out online, and we all know that our online selves only put out about 10% of who we are, of our thoughts, feelings, and accomplishments. The consensus from my conversation with Berry is that haters don’t actually know you. It can be comforting, in this case, to know that their hate is purely superficial and not a direct hit at who you really are. Hate comes from the person's insecurity and jealousy - “the person behind the comment has their own [life and struggles], and you are only a small part of their life in the grand scheme of things”, says Berry. It's highly unlikely they have a big shrine dedicated to hating you.
Haters can bring you down, they might make you second guess yourself or make you self-conscious about what you’re putting out there. This is a perfectly valid feeling. The reality is, no matter what you do, there will be someone who disagrees or disparages what you engage with - we’re thinking cosplay in particular but this can be anything! However, we’ve collated some ideas on how to get past that feeling of scrutiny and build confidence to continue doing you.
If they’re consistently leaving you hate, you can block or limit comments
If you’re lucky enough to have a particular person that just loves to boost your engagement by commenting hate, you can always block them when it gets to be too much. Instagram also allows you to block comments with certain keywords! Here’s a little how-to:
- Go to your settings
- Select ‘privacy’ then ‘hidden words’
- In this menu, there are lots of options to filter or hide comments, and you can create a custom list of words and
- phrases to hide
Tik Tok also has similar functions that allow you to filter and review comments - simply go to your settings, select ‘privacy’, and select ‘comments’ to give you greater control over what you receive.
Things may still get through and this won’t stop everyone. An old saying on the internet - don’t feed the trolls. Try to resist engaging with them because they thrive on the knowledge they got through to you. They love knowing they got a reaction, so don’t allow them to think that you care for their thoughts at all.
However, we can do all we can to stop them but they can still slip through. By developing your own confidence and focusing on the things you can control, haters can affect you less and less until they are nothing but a boost to your engagement.
Talk with your family and friends who actually know you and love you
If you find someone’s words have managed to get under your skin, it always helps to talk with good friends and family who love you and see you for the wonderful person you are. I always find a quick chat with the Colin girls is the best when I’m feeling down and can’t see myself clearly for who I am - your friends should be your cheerleaders who encourage and love you for who you are! When strangers' opinions get you down, seek out those from the ones who actually know and love you, rather than some random person on the internet who sees only the 3% of you that you share online.
Remember the reason you’re doing what you do
People will have an opinion regardless of what you do, so why not do exactly what you want? Whether something is considered cringe or overdone, why does it matter other than the fact that you enjoy it? As an interest, it's entirely yours to pursue and share, and you have every right to occupy and shape your space on the internet as you see fit. What really matters is that you enjoy it and that it's making YOU happy. Thrive on doing and enjoying exactly what you want, and remember the ol’ video game adage: if you’re encountering enemies and obstacles along your way, chances are you’re going in the right direction.
Please note that the information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek the advice of a qualified mental health professional.
For support and information on mental health, please visit Beyond Blue at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or contact their support service at 1300 22 4636. Beyond Blue is an Australian non-profit organization that provides resources and support for people dealing with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.