One day it’s going to happen. You’re going to log into your blog and see that you have a new comment pending approval. You’ll be excited because this person cared enough to leave you a message!
You’ll click to view this pending message and it’ll be mean. The person who left this comment for you did it to attack you, to tell you that you’re post is lame, you suck, and your opinion is stupid.
Been there, done that.
I began this blog in May of 2016 and received my very first piece of negative feedback in September of that same year. It was completely unexpected because I didn’t feel that the post was the sort of post that would draw in negativity.
No major attacks or negativity at first. Just a few random people disagreeing with my opinion but doing so kindly.
However kind the comments were, it still stung a bit. There isn’t anything fun about being told you’re wrong by some random stranger on the internet.
I’d obsess over small, minor attacks for hours! Someone questioned one of my choices as a pet owner in a post that I have since deleted (due to it being mediocre, not because of the comment). I steamed on that for hours and eventually replied in a semi-bitchy way.
I thought comments like those were bad… until October 2016.
You see, at the time I’d recently visited out of state family and witnessed various people treating their toddler sons as if they were still babies. Coddling them and holding them when they cried over the dumbest things. In a sense, treating them like “little girls”.
I meant every word of what I wrote, although some of what I said has been taken out of context. That’s something that really, REALLY bothered me when this post started to take off, but I don’t really care about it anymore.
Since I wrote it, the post had been shared about 3.3k times on Facebook and 2.5k times on Pinterest. Definitely not something that’s been seen by the whole world (or even country), but it received enough traffic that both Kidspot and IJR wrote their own articles about it.
Every now and then I create a new pinnable image for that controversial post of mine and traffic picks up again. With the traffic comes another round of hateful comments. Most of them I approve, some I don’t.
An example of approved comments:
- This kind of toxic thinking is why there are over masculine men who beat women.
- As a mother of boys and a veteran middle school teacher, I find your opinion about how to raise boys very dangerous and disturbing.
- This article is very sad to me. I really hope you don’t ever have a boy who doesn’t 100% meet your middle-class American definition of what constitutes a “man.”
Some unapproved comments:
- There’s a good reason why you had so many miscarriages, poor things were probably boys who were better off without a bigoted heartless moron with a cheap stripper name as their mum. Please go kill yourself now.
- It is a good thing you were not granted a boy. May you never be. You are an abuser to children.
- I’d rather raise a son who cries, is sensitive, and cares about others than one who thinks hitting is a sign of love and doesn’t cry. F*ck you and this horrible post.
The rude comments aren’t limited to my blog, either. Here are some from Facebook:
- She’s an ignorant c*nt. Trump voter I’m sure. She’s been brainwashed by the men’s rights activists probably.
- “Desteny” Shudder. I can’t even bring myself to click on it.
- Wow, did a man write this? Surely a woman couldn’t be so cold-hearted?
- Someone with the name Desteny really doesn’t hold any form of credibility in my books.
In the beginning, these comments were very hard to swallow. I’ve known that my opinions on most topics aren’t mainstream and tend to be especially unpopular with Millennials, but I’ve never been surrounded by so many people who disagree with me. It’s funny how the internet can not only help you connect with like-minded people, but also help those who disagree with you find you and attack you.
I’ve written other controversial posts related to parenting since then, but none of them have been nearly as popular as Stop Turning Your Little Boy into a Little Girl. Sure, each one has received a little hate mail, but it hasn’t gotten the thousands of comments that this one has.
Whether you agree with my controversial posts or not isn’t what’s important here. What’s important is me sharing with you my best pieces of advice on handling the negative feedback you will one day, if you haven’t already, receive as a blogger. So, here ya go:
DON’T LET THEM SWAY YOUR BELIEFS
This is of utmost importance. Start by only posting your opinion on your blog if you are 100% certain it is what you really, truly believe. You can back it with evidence, too, but I don’t really find that to be necessary. For me, my opinion is my own and I do not need to try to prove to people my way of thinking is correct, nor do I feel the urge to convert people. My blog belongs to me and if you think what I say is dumb, awesome. That’s your opinion. If you think my opinion is outdated because XYZ study says I’m wrong, great. These things won’t change my beliefs. Have a problem with that? Leave my blog.
Be certain in your beliefs. If your opinion is easily swayed, you will lose the respect of those who originally agreed with you.
DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Definitely easier said than done! The truth of the matter is these people want you to take it personally. That’s their entire purpose, their reason for typing what they did. You wrote something that bothered them so much and had enough of an impact on them that they felt the need to lash out.
Sure, there are some people who are simply stating they disagree with you and there’s really nothing wrong with those people. They aren’t going to attack you or say anything mean. They’ll state their disagreement, more than likely explain why in a civilized manner, and leave. They aren’t trying to attack you.
It’s the people who call you stupid, who cuss you out, who tell you to kill yourself who you need to just brush off.
I used to let it get to me. The first couple weeks were tough! Now I just laugh at comments like that. These people don’t have any right to control your emotions, no matter how hard they try, so don’t let them!
KNOW THAT YOU AREN’T ALONE
It may seem like you are sometimes, but you aren’t. There are people out there who agree with you 110%. They just haven’t found you yet. An upside to the haters finding you and leaving angry comments is that they may also share the post, along with their anger, with their friends on social media. This leads to more people reading your post, most likely more angry comments, but also a chance for those who agree with you to find you.
You can receive a hundred comments from haters before receiving your first from someone who is on the same page as you. Just remember that someone out there agrees with what you’ve written and one day that person will find you and commend you for standing up for what you believe in. They’ll appreciate your authenticity and your lack of fear of the backlash.
I didn’t find a single person who agreed with my post until IJR wrote an article about it. Then I had thousands of people commenting on social media and my blog in a positive way. It took a while, but once it happened, it was so refreshing!
Once again, another thing that isn’t easy to do. When someone attacks you and your opinion, your first reaction is to fight back. You can if you want, but I recommend you don’t. It does nothing but fuel the fire and show these people that what they said bothered you (their entire goal). I tried responding to every comment in the beginning, but now I only reply to actual, intelligent, legitimate questions and those who agree with me. The rest aren’t worth my time or energy.
Don’t give the haters what they want, ignore them and reward your followers and those who want to have a real conversation with you. Only those people are deserving of your time.
TAKE A BREAK
I still struggle with this!
A great thing about the internet is that you don’t have to look at it! You can close your laptop, put your tablet away, and shut down your phone and you’ve silenced all the negativity.
I found this nearly impossible to do the first time my post took off. This time around it’s a little easier but definitely not something that comes naturally. I find myself searching for the post on Facebook just to see who shared it and what their friends or followers said. It was overwhelming before, but since I’ve learned not to care about the opinions of those who disagree, it’s become a lot less painful to read what haters have to say.
Remove yourself from the internet for a couple hours or, better yet, the entire evening. Those people and their comments will still be there when you return to the cyber world.
When handled properly, these confrontational posts can really help your blog. You just have to make sure you don’t do anything that might ruin this sudden success.
Have you been through this sort of thing before? What advice can you add?
Or maybe this is just now happening to you. If you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’ve been there!