This is a guest post by Valerie J. Wilson.
You’ve heard of that clothing line called “Life is Good,” right? That Jake character has it goin’ on! His glass is half-full, and the dude just keeps on keepin’ on. Everyone should be like Jake.
But there a lot of folks out there who are the antithesis of that guy on the t-shirt who just smiles all day long. There are the haters. The meanies. The bullies. Those who just didn’t get the right cup of coffee this morning.
The deal with responding to the Anti-Jakes is this: The goal is to neutralize their comments and to attempt to turn their negativity around. Then again, depending on the circumstances, sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the bully.
Well, there’s that.
Consider a few of the following strategies to coming up with the best response to the poster who just woke up on the wrong side of the bed:
Consider Mean Comments from Personal Connections
Get Some Real “Face Time.” If there really is a good friendship involved, and someone is just having a rather rotten day, push through it – and have a face-to-face chat. This online communication lacks a lot: facial expression, tone of voice, eye contract, volume, etc.
There might be a possibility of a misunderstanding, or – gulp – maybe it was a joke! Do a little bit of investigating before you banish someone from your feed or contacts list. Maybe the person who woke up on the wrong side of the bed is you. If so, grab some coffee. And, you know … Carry On.
Silence is Golden. If it’s a personal comment from someone you actually know, the best response is silence. Don’t respond. Let the comment just sit. Anyone observing this “exchange,” if it’s on a social media website like Facebook, will simply see that you’ve taken the high road. And, quite honestly, the people who had venom spewing from their fingertips will just look like idiots. That’s okay. Let them. Because, well, --- they are.
Delete. Erase. Buh-Bye! If it’s Facebook comment, and you truly don’t care for this person any longer, bid farewell. You don’t need the tension in your life. First, you can delete the comment (on Facebook, for example, click that little “x” in the top right area of the post. Poof! It’s gone.) If that doesn’t do the trick, consider de-friending. Or for Twitter, simply stop following the feed. Dismissed!
Cyber Bullying is Dangerous: This one isn’t targeted toward only snarky teenagers. The “safety” of being alone at a screen and not having any boundaries can create a free-for-all atmosphere. The bottom line is that cyber stalking and cyber bullying can be downright dangerous. If you’re starting to feel afraid, it is imperative to involve adults, teachers, and parents. Police intervention may even be necessary.
Consider Comments from a Post on Your Professional Website
A negative comment to your professional website is actually an opportunity to let your problem-solving skills show. If you want your business to continue to thrive, handle these negative comments with grace and dignity.
Doing anything else could cost you your business, so listen up:
Make it Right: If a disgruntled customer has posted a negative review about one of your products or services, this is the opportunity to correct the error and show the rest of the shopping world that you stand by your business. Take this negative and spin it right around into a positive.
Respond Quickly – and Follow Up: If at all possible, correct the issue, offer a sincere apology, and then make a quick phone call or send an email to check in and make sure the customer is pleased. This extra bit of personal service, especially at a time when everything is automated, this extra effort will go a long, long way.
Golden Rule: Yes, this one still holds true. Treat the person exactly as you’d want to be treated: with respect, patience, honesty, and action.
Then Again… If you’re dealing with someone who is simply casting the line out and waiting for anyone to take the bait? These folks are called “trolls” – and if all they are trolling for is some attention? By all means, don’t give them the attention they crave. Don’t engage. Your blood pressure will thank you.
Don’t give them the satisfaction, especially on social media.
They really should come up with a “Shhhh…” button, shouldn’t they?
You know how they have the “like” button on Facebook? Who is going to be the first one to come up with the little face with the perpendicular first finger held up over the little cyber lips? Yes, that’d be a good day at the office right there. It’s not threatening, not mean, and the truth is, sometimes people just need to be told to settle down a little bit. In the social media world, this could be perrrrfect!
Remember, keep it positive. And like Jake, just spread some good karma. It’ll come zinging right back at you!
About the author
Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer for Reputation.com.