The sad truth is that hate is easy. It’s stupid simple to hate someone’s guts. It’s easy to disagree. It is easier to make an enemy than it is to change a tire. Hate is just too damn common in this world, perhaps because the barrier to entry is so low. Anyone can do it.
Those of us who have trolls know this phenomenon well. Many of us have people who will disagree with anything we write or say. I do. You most likely do as well. We deal with toxic people all the time. That’s life.
And, we tend to have varying degrees of success with how we deal with this type of hate. Do you let it bother you, or are you one of those special people who can genuinely ignore it?
How do we deal with people who hate us?
In a previous life, I maintained a wholly unhealthy mechanism for dealing with people who hated or disagreed with me. In short, I engaged them. Not in a smart way, but in a “let’s go!” kind of way. I argued right back. I spent hours writing paragraphs of an argument. I got so wrapped up in the battle that I couldn’t pull myself away. I needed to know what my sparring partner was going to say next. I could literally feel my heart beating faster. It was a high, I suppose.
Unhealthy. Stressful. Waste of time.
The fact is we all have our own opinions about life. Our perspectives shape our world view. Our upbringing defines the foundation in which we approach the world. One person’s truth may be different than another’s. That’s okay. Just because someone disagrees with you does not necessarily make them right…or wrong.
It makes them different.
And let’s face it – most of us aren’t right about everything. How many times have you changed your mind in your life? I bet you thought that you were right before you changed your mind, too. Right? Of course.
In my old age (I’m 35), I learned to take a pacifist attitude towards those who disagree with what I say. Or hate my guts. As a Libertarian-minded person, I know my fair share of hate. There’s plenty to be seen from my vantage point. And if you’re bold enough to write about your opinion to an open medium such as the Internet, you’re setting yourself up for some rankling.
And like I said, I’m quite the pacifist about it all. Disagree with me? That’s cool. To each their own. I am not particularly concerned about how dumb, ill-informed or downright objectionable someone thinks I am. I have neither the time nor the interest in such nonsense.
More or less, people can believe whatever they want to believe.
I deal with hate in one of two ways
#1: I flat out ignore it. This is always the easier route to take. If the attack is personal in nature, I almost always ignore it. I chalk the other person up as a hateful, barren soul void of important demands on his or her time. How sad, and I truly pity those who can’t help themselves but hate…well, everyone. All the time. Never smiling. It’s gotta truly suck to be like that.
#2: I engage, but in a fun way. Not quite sarcastic, but if I’m in a particularly goofy mood, I might respond back to the person in a way that makes it clear I took no offense to their remarks (which is NOT what most of these people want), but believe them to be humorous enough to respond in kind. Haters want to drag their unwilling sparring partners down with them. If we respond with hate, the haters win. Every time.
Understand that haters want to get under your skin. They want you to feel bad about yourself or the opinion you presented. They want to feel as if THEY were the cause of you getting angry and fighting back – or suddenly changing your mind in the face of their contrarian viewpoint. If you lose your cool, mission accomplished.
If you choose to engage, don’t “fight back”. Instead, you’re having fun. You’re showing Mr. or Mrs. Hater that you’re stronger than they are and aren’t moved by their words, but feel confident and focused enough in your position to communicate. Typically, the shorter the engagement, the better.
How many truly successful people do you know who spend hours hating other people? Or taking the contrarian view on Twitter? Or commenting on blogs about how the blogger is full of shit?
Successful people don’t have time for that stuff! Their time is filled with more productive endeavors.
Personally, I don’t know of a single successful person who genuinely enjoys the not-so-unique art of hating. I do know those who seek an additional level of intellectual superiority over their fellow man and have found no other mechanism to derive this level of pitiful satisfaction than to disagree with anyone and everyone. And, naturally – they need to tell people about it, too. They can’t keep their mouths shut.
They must let people know that they disagree. Because smart people disagree, I suppose.
How to deal with people who hate your guts
#1: Ignore it – This method can work, but it may also close your eyes to constructive criticism that might actually improve your life. Only you can determine whether or not the criticism is constructive or not.
#2: Use it – Many-an-athlete claims to have used negativity to their advantage. When the odds are against you, it’s easy for people to say that you’ll never make it. Use that negativity to light a fire under your ass. Get motivated.
#3: Fight it – Use this method sparingly. Fighting negativity can easily ignite a larger fight that you want no part of. Stand up for yourself when needed, but resist fighting all the time – especially when the fight is online. I fought all the time and it only led to hours of stressful negativity that added nothing productive to my life.
#4: Leave it – This goes further than simply ignoring it. Negative people have no place in your life. Leave them. Even if they are so-called “friends”, maintaining an unhealthy relationship for the sake of friendship is not helping either party grow or excel.
#5: Embrace it – Haters hate for a variety of reasons. You may have something they don’t. You may hold a differing opinion to them. Or, they might just be losers. Whatever the case, know that haters often hate because they feel you are above them in some way, and they need to regain power in an attempt to bring you down. Rejoice, my loving readers. You may have something they don’t.
So, tell me…how do you deal with haters?
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.