For some reason, people feel like they have a wall of protection and the right to say anything they please when it comes to interacting online. And trust me, I’ve read my fair share of blog posts where I really wanted to let the writer know I thought they were a moron. But I didn’t because I am an adult.
Unfortunately, not everyone has my grown-up sense of how to treat other people. (OK, most 5-year-olds know it’s not nice to be mean to others.) And since I’ve had a few people leaving rude comments on my blog lately, I figured it was time to pass along my guide to not letting jerks, haters, and crabby people ruin your love of sharing yourself, your time, and your expertise online.
Create a commenting policy
No one can argue with a policy, right? If you have trouble coming up with a response or feel like one rude comment knocks you out for a week, pre-write your responses, decide what type of comments get a response and what type of comments get deleted, and put a plan in place ahead of time.
My policy is: if someone leaves a comment on my blog (that they actually put thought into), I will respond. But if they feel the need to be judgmental and rude, I’m going to be rude straight back. I’m all for having a legit discussion, but if it’s a case of “I don’t like you because you’re different,” I am going to call them out.
And if someone leaves a straight out nasty remark (you’re stupid, that’s dumb, and the like), it gets deleted. If they can’t take the time to explain themselves and/or leave their name/email/url, they don’t get to use MY website as a platform for hate.
Let’s take a minute to remember that last part…it’s MY website. MINE. I’m creating a happy blog and biz-building resource over here and I am not going to waste my time pandering to someone’s bullshit that probably has nothing to do with me or my blog anyway. If someone comes into YOUR space and puts you down, you have the right to tell them to GTFO.
Don’t take it personally
These people, they don’t know you. It feels like we’re all best friends because we know each other’s kids’ names, what we ate for dinner, what pissed us off this week, but unless we hang out on a regular basis, we don’t really know each other.
So their comment or critique probably has more to do with THEM and THEIR life and absolutely nothing to do with YOU.
Unless I’m gonna call you on your birthday or answer the phone for you in the middle of the night, I’m not letting you influence how I feel about myself, my blog, or my business.
And I know this is one of the most difficult things to do, but it’s absolutely the MOST IMPORTANT. You cannot let a random stranger on the internet knock you down. They probably left that jerk comment without giving you a second thought and you need to delete it or tell them off with the same attitude.
Do take it with a grain of salt
This one is about negative reviews, because sometimes they’re honest and helpful even though they might really be a bummer. If the reviewer’s concerns are legit, view it as a challenge to help make your product better. Maybe the description needs more descriptors, maybe the product needs a couple edits, or you need to up the value or lower the cost? (You can always add a bonus to fill in the gaps.) It’s like spraying antiseptic on a skinned knee – it hurts but it helps, right?
And sometimes they aren’t really about your product at all. For example: I once received a terrible review on my Badass Blog Planner because (I found out later via email) it didn’t provide a “financial miracle.” The review had ZERO to do with the actual planner and everything to do with the reviewer’s personal situation.
I totally let it ruin my day for no reason instead of remembering that my blog planner is as badass as the title says.
Be massively helpful and nice
Sometimes people have a legitimate concern and are just not that tactful voicing it. If clients or customers are ever snotty or condescending with me, my response is always to be as nice and helpful as possible.
Maybe they had a horrible day, maybe someone was just rude and condescending to them, maybe they are worried because they don’t really know the process or how something is going to work, and maybe it’s email and it’s not coming off as nicely as it would have if they’d said it in person.
I always try to give my clients, customers, and students the benefit of the doubt and remember that I’m damn good at my job (which is to help them be awesome online), it’s not personal because #business, and then smooth things over so we can get back to kicking ass online.
But sometimes you gotta cut ties and move on
If being super nice and helpful is just not working and the rudeness and condescension continues, then it’s time to whip out the ole contract and put a stop to the entire thing. This has literally only happened twice, but it does happen, so again it’s good to be prepared in advance and have a protocol so you don’t get yelled at and then screwed over.
And lastly, a general PSA to anyone who decides to be one of those jerks . . .
Because I talk to lots of my biz-owning friends and hear about way too much bullshit. We are all SOLO biz owners. And we are all figuring this out as we go. Which means we should ALL (me, you, and everyone we know) cut each other a little slack.
Running a business on your own is not easy (as you may know) and sometimes, no matter how much we try to hold it together, things fall through the cracks. It’s an unfortunate fact of life.
99% of these bloggers and biz owners are putting stuff out there to HELP YOU SUCCEED. They want you to rock at whatever they’re teaching and when something goes wrong, I guarantee they did not do it to personally fuck you over. So turning around and firing off a chargeback before even sending an email doesn’t help either of you. Sending a tweet tearing them a new one, also doesn’t help either of you. Leaving a raging comment instead of submitting a tech support ticket, you guessed it, doesn’t help either of you.
Like I said at the beginning, as much as we know about each other, most people don’t put the really bad stuff online. So sending a jerk email before you’ve even given someone a chance to help is a really shit way to go about things.