Whenever anyone asks me about my favorite parts about blogging, the ability to connect is always one of my answers. But this positive can also be a negative. When you put everything out there online, there will inevitably be criticism. Luckily, I had an experience before I became a blogger that helped me learn not to let negative comments pull me down.
While I was working at Style Network, I did a shoot for a brand wearing a sweater dress. The brand published the photo on their very popular Facebook page, so I naturally was curious to read the comments. One person commented that I looked like an “anorexic bobble head” in the dress. Directly below that was a comment saying I had a “fat ass.” Which one was it? Was I too skinny or too large? Luckily, at the time I was happy with my weight so I just laughed it off.
These days, when I get negative comments I try to think back to those two contradictory views. But I’m the first one to admit: Sometimes mean people bring me down. So I enlisted some of my fellow fashion bloggers to share their tips on how to deal with haters on blogs and social media.
To respond or not to respond?
When you get a crappy comment you have a few options for your immediate reaction. Some choose to automatically delete. “I typically delete it right away after reading it once,” my friend Lisa of By Lisa Linh says. “I will not let it affect me or ruin my day. Never dwell on something you can’t change. People’s assumptions and opinions of you are unfortunately their own, and you can’t always change their mind. So don’t even try!”
Others simply ignore comments. “Brush them off,” Taye of Stuff She Likes says. “And take it all, good and bad comments, with a grain of salt.” My girl An of Haute Pink Pretty agrees. Ignoring is great approach if you have the willpower to do so. But An admits sometimes she can’t hold it in. That’s when the she uses the “kill them with kindness technique.”
“I like to reply with a super nice, sugary sweet response mentioning my own insecurities on whatever the issue is and ask for their recommendations,” she told me. “I found that people will sometimes delete their nasty comment or respond with an apology and turn it into constructive criticism, which I can appreciate!”
I take a similar approach. While I’m not overly sweet like An, I generally try to respond to all comments, positive and negative. I take a more dry approach, saying that I’m sorry they feel that way and ask for suggestions on how I can help them. One time I tried this on YouTube and the person who left a negative comment immediately responded that she appreciated my professionalism and felt horrible she took out her bad day out on me!
Of course, if something is downright offensive, I agree with Lisa: delete, delete, delete!
Keep calm and carry on.
I often struggle with figuring out how much to share on my blog and social media. While I want to give everyone an inside look at my life, sometimes I feel like extremely personal subjects are too scary to put out there for everyone to see. While my community is generally supportive (thanks for that everyone!), I still fear negative feedback.
Lisa has been incredible about opening up about all subjects, including her history of getting bullied. “I choose to share certain parts of my life that I truly believe will help others or allow me to connect with others on an intimate level,” she says. “I purposely try to start discussions and want to open these platforms up, allowing people to speak up on their fears and dreams. The more we empower one another, the better we’ll do in life.”
Love yourself and love what you do.
Truly, the key to dealing with negative comments is loving yourself. My friend Mara of M Loves M has such an optimistic view on this matter. While we were at lunch a while back, she told me about taking a break from Snapchat after reading negative comments about her account. She then realized that she wasn’t going to let other people’s negativity stop her from sharing what she wanted to share.
“Feeling bad about yourself is one of the worst feelings, especially when you’re a part of an industry where you constantly feel so much pressure as it is,” Mara said. “I have to remind myself not to allow other people’s opinions to prevent me from sharing experiences I want to document. Everyone is going to have an opinion but that doesn’t make it the truth. I try to focus instead on being myself, and accepting myself for who I am. As long as I can stand proudly behind something, that’s all that matters!”
While I know seeing negative comments will still affect me, it’s helpful hearing how everyone deals with the same issues. I hope it helped you as well!
I just want to add that the opposite of a negative comment has just as strong of an effect: Reading a random note of kindness can instantly elevate one’s mood. So this week, I’m going to try to leave an extra nice comment on a stranger’s blog or Instagram every day. I hope you can join me to spread the love! And to sum it all up, I leave you with the very wise words of Taylor Swift…
The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Photo by Jodee Debes
If you have any topics you want covered in future columns let me know!