Outfit Post: Haters Gonna Hate - Dealing with negative comments

Yesterday was a lovely day. I hopped out of bed bright and early, caught an ex-boyfriend on Fox News, interviewed a vintage shop owner (where I scored a dreamy pair of 1960's cat-eye glasses) and had a spontaneous lunch with the husband at a fantastic restaurant I'd never been to. The weather was perfect, there was no traffic on the roads, and to top it off, I was having an exceptionally good hair day.

And then I arrived home to a hurtful comment on my blog.

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. I am well aware that exposing myself on a public forum makes me vulnerable to personal attacks. As a avid blog reader, I've heard the stories regarding hostile and nasty comments and knew I would eventually be at the receiving end. If you blog, the crazies will come. No matter how well-researched your posts are, how stylish your outfit is, and how witty you try to be, they'll be someone who believes they have a right to judge you or is looking to attack. But that rationale doesn't make it hurt any less. The comment in question was about my body, and it really stung, especially since I'm in recovery from anorexia.

After moping, pouting, and generally acting like a big baby, I picked myself off the floor and spent the night thinking about the best approach towards handling negative comments. As my blog grows, I am certain there will be more hostility as a result. It's unfortunate, and sad, but ultimately I am responsible for how I choose to react towards it. I believe that the way I respond to negative comments defines the person that I am. So here's my best advice for facing criticism and handling negative comments:

Resist the urge to respond immediately: After reading the comment I felt hurt, confused, and defensive. Was the commenter right? Who were they to criticize how I chose to dress, and my personal appearance? My fingers felt itchy with the urge to pound out a snarky response. Instead I took a deep breath, closed my laptop, and put on some music to distract myself. Responding, especially while in the throes of emotion, would only make things worse and potentially cause me to behave in a way I'd regret.

Put yourself in their shoes: Giving the benefit of the doubt to a negative commenter can be extremely difficult. But it might help you gain some perspective. Perhaps the poster is going through a break-up, has suffered a loss or is struggling with financial difficulties. Their rude behavior is much more about their personal issues than it is about you. A good rule of thumb is that nasty or negative comments are never about you or what you’ve written. They are always about the person who wrote them. Even if people disagree with what you’ve said, most of them can do it in a sane & respectful fashion. Those who can't are obviously struggling with issues deeper than what you've written or how you look.

Refrain from confrontation: Defending yourself in these matters can be tricky business. You don’t want to present yourself in a bad light with your readers, and stooping to someone else’s level rarely gets you anywhere. When I first read the comment I felt as if I had to defend myself, and was hungry to have the last word. However, doing so would likely have resulted in more inflammatory comments and emails. Engaging in these actions would have been nothing more than a waste of time and energy, and only distract me from the positive things I'm trying to do with my blog.

Delete, delete, delete: Seeing as the comment provided no constructive criticism or positive benefit, I chose to delete it. Rendering it into digital oblivion felt really good. Some bloggers might have approved the comment as a way of garnering support from followers. Others might have taken the opportunity to privately respond to the poster. Personally, I don't believe initiating a potentially tricky line of communication is worth it. Depending on your blogging software, you might be able to block the poster from ever commenting again.

Live and learn:  Receiving negative or rude comments is a part of blogging. There will always be some troublemakers who have nothing better to do than start - and fan - the flames. Develop a thick skin, don’t stoop to their level, and conduct yourself in a professional, respectful tone.

What has your experience been with receiving negative comments? How did you chose to respond? Do you have any other advice for handling negative comments?


Forever 21 linen shirt; TJ Maxx white tee; AG Adriano Goldschmied boyfriend jeans; Gap sandals; thrifted vintage clutch; Gap Outlet belt; Urban Outfitters necklace; eBay bracelets








55 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT advice, all of it. Dealing with negative comments is a bear, and sadly it never gets easier. But they're just a part of blogging, and creating a plan to deal with them is extremely wise.

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  2. So sorry you faced someone who feels so bad about themselves that they would take it out on you. You do such a nice job...and I love dressing rooms...but whether we do or don't, its a great discussion!! Terri @ Rags Against the Machine and I both wrote posts today about bullies and ugly comments. Even an opposing viewpoint can be presented in an uplifiting manner. Hope you can read our posts!!

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  3. I've had a few comments where I felt the reader took my post too seriously or gave unnecessary advice, that came off negative, and they did brush me the wrong way. I did not respond immediately, but because they were not down right rude comments, I gave them the benefit of the doubt (maybe I just took them wrong) and left the comments on the blog as well as responded.

    As I told you on Twitter yesterday, those mean commenters are losers, and for every bad or negative comment, there are many great ones!

    Your outfit in this post is adorable by the way, and your body looks FABULOUS!!!

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  4. First of all, I love this outfit and you look great in it! Second, I think you handled it perfectly. I believe deleting the comment and not giving the commenter any recognition is the simplest way to handle negativity. Don't give them a ledge to step on again.

    xo L.

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  5. So sorry to hear the negativity you faced, but it sounds like you've dealt with it appropriately. I think you're amazing and CLEARLY my opinion rocks. :) Also, I am loving that vintage clutch!

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  6. Wonderful post Elissa!!! Someone in Russia posted ALL my pictures on their blog and said I was a plus size model!!! Can you believe that!!! But like you said it's part of being on a public forum. We have to take in the good with the bad. By the way I think you look FABULOUS!

    IvonneStacy.blogspot.com

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  7. I very, very much needed this advice -- thank you so much! I've only just started my own blog and received a comment like this on my very first outfit post. It really stung, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the most constructive (and healthy) way of dealing with it. I really appreciated your transparency around your emotional reaction -- it's nice to know I'm not alone.

    Also -- *adore* that bag!

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  8. Well done, Elissa. Sorry you were the target of a rude person, but YOU were thoughtful and mature. My blog is brand new, and I am already wondering how I'll repond to the inevitable crankies.

    I love your jewelry today!

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  9. In the words of my secret husband Jay-Z "go on, brush your shoulders off." Haters are always going to rear their ugly heads and try and tear down other people- especially when that person is as fabulous as you. Just remember that for every one negative hater, you have many of us that love and follow you and appreciate the beauty you bring into our day. Keep doing your thing honey and hold your head up high!!

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  10. I like how another blogger put it. You know you've made it in the blogging world when you get your first negative comment. So, to put an extremely positive spin on it, CONGRATS!

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  11. ^^^^^ I love Cathy! Secret husband, lol!

    I have had only one negative comment that I can recall but it was mainly directed at a topic that I blogged about not me personally. I didn't delete it, I didn't take it that seriously but I hate that someone felt that they had to bring a negative vibe to your positive place. I am not sure what I am going to do when someone DOES make a negative comment toward me personally, I may leave it up just for kicks. Just keep doing what you're doing, negative people can go kick rocks barefoot!

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  12. Great tips Elissa. I have yet to receive a negative comment on my blog but did receive one on my youtube channel "You are f*cking ugly". I was only mad because it was on such a personal video of mine. After a few seconds, I laughed about it. A.) I KNOW that I'm not ugly and B.) This commenter was incredibly vicious to anyone they came across anyway that I just felt sad for them

    I'm glad you didn't lash out or respond negatively. Shows just how great you are :)

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  13. Great way to handle it and great advice.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE today's outfit.

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  14. SCORE!!! You've got a hater! That means you are a real blogger! Congratulations girl!

    And don't worry about any more comments from that person...I took care of it.

    (not really but I would...it's in the Mutual Admiration Society contract that we signed in our heads)

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  15. ugh...yeah that's the "not so much fun" part of blogging. I think you are absolutely right when you say it's not about you, it's about what's going on with them. Don't let it get you down girlie...you are an amazing writer, you have a fantastic blog and you are super stylish! You are in your element and sometimes when people see success...they wanna throw a punch.

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  16. Some people are loser jerks who have nothing better to do than hide behind a cloak of anonymity and spew negativity and hatred. Like, what's the point? What put forth the effort? LOSER. JERKS. I had a personal blog for years before I started my piddly little style blog and I would get more than the occasional ugly comment... I only let it bother me the first few times because otherwise, THEY WIN. And you can't let the loser jerks win!

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  17. You are an absolute gem. The way that you've dealt with this and written about it is something we can all learn from, and I'm glad you were willing to share. I've had my share of negative comments (but that's another story entirely) and for you to be so objective about it is inspiring.

    I think you are beautiful, inspiring, lovely, fashionable, sweet, intelligent, and a wonderful person.

    Negative comments hurt no matter what we do. Next time you read one, remember all the things I love about you. It helps a bit.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooo


    ps:
    xoxo

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  18. hmmm. this one is hard.
    I experienced a lot of negative comments a few months ago and realised that, obviously, they were all anonymous. While I do get some lovely anon comments, the bad outweighed the good, so I stopped allowing anonymous comments.
    Then I continued to get comments from a user who had set up a fake livejournal (I know, how sad) and kept calling me fat. She/he got very annoyed when I retaliated by deleting their comments, so in the end I just kept them up.
    I experienced a similar thing on tumblr and in the end just deleted my whole account.
    My advice would be to stop allowing anonymous comments, because people hide behind anonymity to say things they would never say identified.
    Good luck and ignore the haters, you're gorgeous.

    Charlotte xxx

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  19. Oh dear, I'm so sorry you got some negativity! While I've never received a purely hateful comment, I have received some criticism, which I think is very different. I agree with taking a few minutes (hours or days even) to get your heart rate back to normal before choosing how you'll respond. I don't moderate my comments so I just let it be, but I do address it in my response. Like I said, I haven't yet gotten one that was terribly negative (knock on wood), so I'm not sure what I'd do in that situation.

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  20. So ironic, because I had to talk to about six middle-schoolers today (I'm a teacher) about negatvie comments. I tell them: If you know what they're saying is false, then it just makes them look like an idiot for saying it. And they're welcome to be an idiot...it just makes you look cooler. You look lovely - today and every day.

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  21. You know, I haven't received a negative comment yet. Since I'm about to hit 6 months of blogging and my readership is increasing I have been bracing myself for it though! I like what you had to say here. I agree about deleting it too. I know a lot of bloggers don't choose that route but I would rather just say goodbye to it! :)

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  22. Good on you for dealing with this with maturity and grace. You really can only control your reactions and if it doesn't make your world (and thus the greater outside world) a better place then get rid of it! Keep on going, brave lady!

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  23. No, This is not so bad as you bothered about bad or negative comments. I like you in this blue nice jeans. You are looking pretty too in this outfit.

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  24. I love your advice. I would have been one of those people who sit down and send back an angry post. Your way is the right way and I admire you and this post. Thank you!

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  25. I think your advice is excellent. I also think like you said that such occurrences are an unfortunate inevitability. I received one really mean spirited comment a few years back and it stung me to the core. It was during a year in review of outfits and the comment was anonymous, snarky, and additionally cruel because of its placement. Something about it being thrust against my "year in outfits" post felt like an attack on the entire corpus of that year! I thought about adding moderation to my comments or requiring some sort of hurdle to prevent it from happening again. But ultimately I just decided to delete and move forward. What is most bizarre is my blog received far less traffic then than it does now, which made me think/fear that it was someone I knew from my day to day life. Haters gonna hate indeed!

    I am especially sorry that the comment you received stung as it related to something visceral and of the body. I think you are smart to take that as a learning/teaching moment and try to move forward. I just deleted my comment and tried to pretend it didn't exist. This is far more productive and interesting!

    As an aside, I love your outfit! Cool, casual, and chic!

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  26. I think you handled the situation with poise and basic maturity. I still didn't receive a negative comment and I know it comes with the territory. I will probably also mention it briefly, talk about the effect on me and then delete it. Just the way I would in "real" life.

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  27. I haven't yet had a negative comment on my blog. But I find this whole business very sad. I don't mind negative comments, as long as they offer constructive criticism and are directed at what I write not at me personally. Communication is a form of art, and a dying one I'm afraid.
    And as bloggers we do put ourselves out there on display do to speak, but that doesn't give people an open invitation for all round trashing.

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  28. Good for you for taking the "high road" in this situation.

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  29. you hair style is kewl!!!!!!!....
    i like the clutch very much!!!!

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  30. I have to say, I kind of feel like it's only the "good" bloggers that get the mean comments. :) I haven't gotten one yet and I think it's because I'm just not that popular. Part of me is okay with that. :)

    You're awesome. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You're beautiful, always. ALWAYS.

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  31. This post was deeply amusing, and I am taking it as an invitation to post a self-indulgent comment.

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  32. This is such a fantastic post. I think I'd have found it hard to resist the urge to immediately tap out a response but you've clearly been able to write this PERFECT response and take the high road simply because you DIDN'T do that!

    I found you through the Links a la Mode contribution list, I'll cross my fingers you make the list with this brilliant post (I'll be so surprised if you don't!).

    www.blahblahbecky.co.uk

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  33. I agree girlfriend..DELETE DELETE DELETE!!! LOL..
    BTW, I totally agree with you on another point- why you started a blog!! I am also a 30+ style obsessed mom, and when I looked for fashion blogs, most of them were by 20 something bloggers! Great to meet you here..
    I just started my blog a month ago and so far its been great:-)
    Happy Blogging!

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  34. While I've only encountered one off-putting comment, I totally agree to your policies. I don't play around with negativity and since we as bloggers work hard on our blogs we have every right to delete foolishness!

    I think you handled it very well. People who are rude over the Internet are cowards in my book and don't deserve a second thought! Great post!

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  35. Funnily enough, this morning I was telling another fellow blogger not to take negative comments too badly, and then this afternoon I got my first one.

    It was really just disagreeing with what I wrote, which is absolutely ok, but what really hurt was how the comment ended, accusing me of something I am not. A remark on my personality, on the way I am.

    Additionally, it wasn't an "anon" but someone I have spoken over Twitter and on their own blog, and that made it sting even more. I couldnt help but think "do they really think this about me? is that how I come across?". I did reply of course, and basically explained my point of view and why I had written the post. What had inspired me to say what I said. But I said nothing on their personal remark...because in the end, I chose to ignore it, because it's what you say, it's more about them than about me. They don't know me.

    As I said, I understand that people can disagree with what we express, but why make it personal and hurtful? It is indeed, part of the job, and you give very good advice on how to deal with it. You have a gorgeous figure by the way xxx

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  36. You did the right thing. I'm sorry you had to go through that, it always sucks to feel attacked and know that the right thing to do is move on. I've only every had one negative comment, it was technically spammy, they just threw in a little negativity just because they could? I was furious and wanted to defend myself for a few a short while and then... DELETE! Ta-Da! Gone. Not my problem. It's theirs. In the same way that beautiful people exude kindness and love, I gave haters the same ownership over their hate. It's a reflection of who they are, not who I am.

    I think you're great! I'm glad this made it into LALM, you deserve it!
    :) f
    The House in the Clouds

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  37. First off, congrats on making it to Links à La Mode. ALso, kudos on approaching such a a tricky issue. I'm Portuguese but I chose to write my blog fully in English. I've had a couple of negative comments, and surprisingly from Portuguese readers. In fact, I received one just now, and you're advice is just right. Although I replied right away I did the breathing exercise beforehand and resisted the urge to respond in a harsh manner; instead I presented my point of view and thanked him for presenting his opinion. Above all, you need to believe in yourself and keep in mind that there will always be haters, it's easy to put someone down. In the case at hand I posted a store info about a menswear atelier and the criticism was about how the place didn't compare to Saville Row..it didn't even make sense..

    Thanks for your advice it definitely made me feel better.

    Keep up the great work!

    MJV

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  38. Such good advice.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  39. Wow, I've been wandering when/if I will eventually deal with this too, but I REALLY believe you did the right thing. And you're right, sometimes people are hurtful and bitter when they are hiding behind the comfort of the computer screen and they can take out some of their own personal anger on someone else. Feel good that you rose above it and also that you were featured on LALM,,,thats how I found you! xoxo

    Aesthetic Lounge

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  40. You go girl... you're beautiful! I bet it felt great to hit delete. Great decision.

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  41. Great tips, I'll definitely have to bookmark this for when/if this ever happens to me. You handled it in a good manor, and in an understanding way.

    Tee

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  42. great post! such a great advice :)

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  43. great advice, especially about taing your time and not responding straight away. I'm fortunate that this hasn't happened to me yet but when/if it does I will use your advice x

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  44. Great tips! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and thoughts on the matter with us. I haven't received a hateful comment yet but I am sure it will happen sooner or later!

    XoXo
    Plami

    http://fashion-thrill.blogspot.com/

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  45. Great advice. And it's true--even when you know the comments are more about someone else being obnoxious, it's still hard not to take them personally.

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  46. Love this post! I had a really hard time with negative comments when I first started blogging and you made some excellent points. I wound up adding a comment policy to my pages, which has helped me make decisions on which comments to delete, and it seems to keep most haters at bay! Check it out: http://www.jseverydayfashion.com/p/js-comment-policy.html

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  47. I must start by saying that I didn't just stumble upon your article, but was actually looking for it. I was looking for someone who went through the same thing I did, who wrote about it, and dealt with it. I knew that I would for sure find something on negative comments on ifb, but I never thought I would find something with which I cand relate so perfectly.

    The recent negative comment I received was not e first, nor the second, and will most probably not be the last. Yet it was as hurtful as any of the others, mostly because it felt, in my opinion, unfounded and just plain mean. It was actually a 3-in-1 comment (you're stupid, you're fat, you're blog is worthless) and considering that I am one who prides herself with thoroughly researching her posts, who spend hour and hours on custom design, and, like you, is a recovering anorexic, well, that comment really din hurt. Moreover, the person attacked my reader by saying that all the comment I receive are pointless. I'm sure you will imagine the way I felt.

    And in light of this, and in light of the fact that, at one point or another, I tried everything (responding on the blog, emailing, ignoring, deleting) I must say that I completely agree with your approach: delete, move on, and be stronger!

    Thank you so much for writing this post, it was immensely helpful!

    Ioana of Fashezine

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  48. I also was searching for someone who went through the same thing, because I received my first truly negative comment, telling me that I was a "hot mess" and that older women shouldn't dress the way I did in my outfit post. I must say, it really hurt. I was considering deleting it, but I kept it and responded, only to tell the person that I appreciate the visit to my blog and that we all have different ways of dressing.

    But it still hurt because I haven't had one yet. Thanks for writing this post because I'm feel like I'm not the only one who had the kind of reaction I did. I'm over it now, and I realize that if I put myself out there, that someone is bound to react, both positively and negatively.

    xoxo
    Cyrillynn

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  49. This is such a great post and wonderful advice! I usually choose to leave the anonymous comments up because they can be so stupid, they're actually funny. I can look at it and go, 'Ha! They're so wrong!' But deleting it is probably the more mature response...

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  50. I'm still learning from you, but I'm trying to achieve my goals. I certainly enjoy reading all that is posted on your blog.Keep the information coming. I loved it!

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  51. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.



    the best seo company

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  52. Excellent advise on a very difficult issue. I can absolutely relate, as I too get those comments. It hurts like hell, actually.

    Thank you for writing this <3

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  53. I 100% agree with your thoughts on negativity...every thing you've outlined is in my opinion, the absolute truth. The miserable sods who have nothing better to do than to leave mean, hurtful comments on someone's blog are just pitiful, mentally unstable jerks with serious personal issues. I used to have a baking blog...yep, I love to bake, and thank the Lord above, my figure doesn't betray this fact, LOL! I would so LOVE to have a fashion blog, but I am thin skinned, and my feelings do get hurt as would most peoples' if they are being attacked for the way they look, of all things. You did the right thing to delete and forget...its the best response, and the mean spirited jackass didn't get what they wanted...a reaction. Good going, Elissa. And you are beautiful and smart and funny, so jealousy strikes me as a major motivator for people like this one you encountered.

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