How to Deal With Haters When They Try to Rain on Your Parade, Personally or Professionally

We’ve all been there — a negative blog comment, a rude Facebook post, a caustic Instagram mention, or a scathing anonymous performance review. Negative feedback is everywhere, especially on social media. As the future of work moves towards a more digital environment, everyone’s devices will be constantly connected, making it even easier to give and receive feedback, especially negative feedback.

What do you do when the haters inevitably try to rain on your parade, either personally or professionally? Here are five ways to deal with negative feedback:

  1. Ignore it. The most basic way to fight negative feedback is to simply ignore it. In many cases, the trolls are just trying to get a rise out of you — don’t give them the pleasure of stooping to their level. As Woody Allen said, “Never argue with an idiot — they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” Don’t get caught in a verbal fight with someone who only wants to see you fail.
  2. If necessary, have conversations. The exception to the previous rule is if the negative feedback has some merit or is presented as constructive criticism, in which case you can engage the person and have a conversation. How do you know when to ignore it and when to converse? Talking to the negative commenter is the exception to the rule and should only be done if their remarks are based in fact and can help you in the long run.
  3. Turn to something positive. Instead of pouring energy into thinking about negative feedback, turn to something positive. People who offer scathing feedback often just want to see you fail, so don’t give them the opportunity — use the feedback as fuel to improve yourself and to work harder and better. As they say, success is the best revenge.
  4. Focus on other people. Although there are lots of negative people in the world, there is also a large number of positive people. Focus your attention on people who you can collaborate with or who build you up. Enjoying positive interactions will build you up and give you the momentum to be successful.
  5. Enjoy it. If all else fails, just be flattered that someone is taking the time to be mean to you. There are plenty of other things they could be doing with their time, but for some reason they have chosen to target you. Look at it as something enviable and turn it into a boost to your confidence.

Jacob Morgan is a speaker, author and cofounder of The Future of Work Community. Subscribe to his newsletter or visit TheFutureOrganization.

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