How to deal with people who hate your guts

Published July 10, 2017   Posted in Having some fun

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.

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?

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40 responses to “How to deal with people who hate your guts”

  1. Hey Steve — as someone who has disagreed with you on your blog (about people not retiring early being all their fault), I can tell you that I actually enjoy a little disagreement. True, it wasn’t hate, but some people will take ANY dissenting opinion as a sign of hateful trolling. You didn’t do that. Even if people don’t convince each other, they can be civil and maybe even learn something. Anyway, thanks for these thoughts. And btw, I still probably disagree with you about the role of luck in finances, but lo and behold I just wrote about how income inequality has a lot to do with choices that are, in fact, within our control. Maybe I did learn something. Dang. 🙂

  2. brian503 says:

    Great topic! I’ve embraced ignoring it. I try not and waste any time or energy on things outside of my control or on people that have very little meaning in my life. Following that rule has really helped leave a lot of stress behind. Stupid/hate seem to be invented with work e-mail. Lots of tough guys out there hiding behind e-mails comments or receiver misinterpreting what was written. If it’s that important go have a conversation.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Brian – yup, not worrying about those things outside of your control contains incredible wisdom. I try to do the same thing, in fact. It’s just not worth it.

  3. An important commentary there, especially for those of your readers who are bloggers. The internet has all kinds of interesting people. Some of them like to throw rocks. You need to be prepared to deal with those people.

    In my case I engage in a fun but indirect way. I do however appreciate and address head on constructive criticism as learning is important. No one knows everything so there is always something I could learn new.

    • Steve says:

      I think that’s the right attitude. If we keep our minds open to the possibility of learning new things from others, we definitely wind up as more well-rounded people.

  4. Matt @ Optimize Your Life says:

    I’ve been working on telling the difference between disagreement that can lead to respectful dialogue and disagreement rooted in contrarianism and hate. I used to treat everything as the former. As someone that really enjoys engaging with people who disagree with me in order to get other viewpoints and challenge my preconceived notions, I had kind of assumed that everyone else was similar. I wasted a lot of time in useless debates with people that weren’t interested in hearing other opinions. I’ve been trying to learn to tell the difference and incorporate the methods that you’ve outlined here.

    • Steve says:

      There’s a huge difference between the two, no doubt. While some of the more hateful comments can be easily disregarded, other times it’s tougher. Case-by-case basis, I suppose. But one thing’s for sure – always learn as much as you can and acknowledge that some people might know more about a certain topic than we do.

  5. Really good post. I find that not engaging is often the best way. However, I will engage in public if something unjust is happening. Additionally, I would rather challenged in a way that hopefully opens their eyes. Not so much so they’re think they are wrong and will change their mind, but rather so they might consider other options on that and any other topic because they’ve opened their hearts.

    • Steve says:

      Yup, if something unjust is happening or you need to defend yourself, getting involved is perfectly reasonable. A good thing, in fact.

  6. DadsDollarsDebts says:

    Haters better recognize…TSR is not going to engage.

    I have had very very few negative comments thus far (take it as the prize of not being successful yet!) but when I have had the few, I just comment how insightful the reader is. That I will take there point of view into account. It seems to work well enough and keeps me cool, calm and collected.

  7. I mostly ignore the haters and just focus on my work. I don’t have time to worry about what other people are thinking or saying.

  8. Dr. Curious says:

    As a people pleaser, I often perseverate on how others view me. It’s almost never helpful, but the habits of the mind are powerful.

    “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k” is next up on my reading list. This post was a nice primer.

  9. Dude, I remember being really impressed (and chuckling) when I saw how you dealt with a rude Twitter comment a while back. Any time you write something in the void of the internet, there’s going to be someone who wants to use the anonymity to get your goat. On my blog I usually don’t engage people who leave completely rude comments that aren’t constructive. If they disagree with me, that’s one thing. But if someone is being a jackass there’s no sense in engaging them. People just want to debate and spread negativity purely for funsies.

  10. Joe says:

    My strategy is to ignore it. I’m way too busy to engage with haters. They’re not going to change their mind anyway so what’s the use. They are entitled to their stupid opinions. 🙂

  11. Amy Blacklock says:

    I’ve learned to (okay really I’m still learning) to ignore it. But I’ve also “use it” and had to “leave it” a time or two in the past.

    I finally felt like an adult when I understood not everyone thought like me. Took way too long.

    • Steve says:

      Yup, you and me both, Amy. Still learning in many cases. Not perfect, but far better than I was. The more we can “use it”, the better!

  12. It’s such a good an important point that ignoring it might also mean ignoring constructive criticism that could force you to stretch yourself and test out your worldview. Meaning: lost opportunity for growth. I’ve settled into a routine of not feeding the trolls, but on my end, asking myself if what they’re saying could have any truth to it, and doing some self-reflection around that. That said, if they want to say their bit in a hateful way, they are not getting the validation of a response from me! 😉

    • Steve says:

      I do something very, very similar. If someone disagrees with me, I actively look at their perspective to determine if I can learn something. Often times, I do. But, it’s all in the delivery. I don’t take personal attacks to heart, but constructive criticism is definitely one of those things that I’ve learned a LOT from.

  13. Great post Steve. Haters gonna hate. Sad but true. I guess we’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another. Thankfully, along with age comes wisdom. We finally realize WE are not always right. Imagine that…..WE are not always right. I try my best to view each and every situation the way “they” do if at all possible. But for the most part, I will engage in a fun way. Other times I will just ignore. Thanks for sharing. Great post!

  14. Mrs. BITA says:

    I have ignored the few trolls that have come my way thus far. I will admit that a few times I itched to get down in the mud with them and Mr. BITA nearly had to sit on me to prevent me from responding. I’m glad that his cooler head prevailed and that I (however unwillingly) took the high road.

    • Steve says:

      Ha! Yup, it happens. I’m the same way, especially when I respond instantly. If I give myself a little time to think and calm down a bit, I usually lose the interest to respond altogether. 🙂

  15. Mr. Tako says:

    Very useful post Steve! I try to think about why the haters hate. Are they simply being nasty because they don’t value different opinions? Are they lashing out from jealousy or frustration? Did they even bother to read the post (more often than not, they didn’t!)

    Usually I don’t respond to the hate… People don’t typically change their world-view based on internet comments, so I try not to waste my time.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mr. Tako. It’s true, people don’t usually change their world view. Or any view, for that matter. Or read the post they are complaining about. Same shit, different day with some of these folks.

  16. Man Donald Trump popped up in my mind so many times as I read this. lol! OK OK despite whatever your political views are, I thought this was great! On point. And you’re right that haters want you do engage. It drives them crazy if you don’t. Poor things. 🙂

  17. SteveK says:

    I’m dealing with such a person right now, today. I’m gonna ignore it. Yup.

  18. apathyends says:

    Haha, I think of this every time I read about one of our fellow PF bloggers in the big spotlight, lots of trolls, lots of excuses and some constructive disagreement that actually propels the conversation. 100% agree with your approach, don’t have time for it 🙂

    I love the way Financial Samurai deals with it as well, “Come write a guest post thoroughly explaining your point of view”

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Apathy! I thought about doing the same thing that FS does, in fact – if they feel strongly enough about an opposing viewpoint, I’m generally open to giving them an outlet to let their voice be heard.

  19. Church says:

    I never will understand people’s insecurities and how that gets translated into trolling and hate, just to feel better. Who has the time to read something they dislike and then comment about it? Why not learn something valuable and say “thank you” instead?

    Maybe it’s not their fault, they just weren’t loved enough as a child. Hug your kids!!

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