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7 Best Ways To Deal With Online Bullies

7 Best Ways To Deal With Online Bullies

We live in a time where a huge part of our daily interactions with people lies online, in a virtual world where speed of communication is key, and entertainment value is significant, if not vital. The Internet has enabled us to cross time and space barriers, allowing instant access, responses to and sharing of information. Everyone is no longer mere consumers of information, but also producers.

This overall ease of instant communication, though powerful, is very often abused by people who lack good intentions–people who are careless, mindless, insensitive, unhappy with themselves, culturally unaware, bigoted, self-centered, biased, or simply mean-spirited.

How should we deal with the online bullies who leave nasty comments on our Facebook posts, our Tweets, our WordPress, our Tumblr, our YouTube videos, our Instagram photos, and wherever? How do we deal with these strangers? What about those who are our acquaintances, or “frenemies”? How do you stop the constant chain of discouraging notes and the on-and-off harassment.

Here’s the complete guide to chasing those sources of negative energy away from your online social life.

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1. Send them a private message

Confront the bullies. Tell them that you know what they are doing. Tell them that what they are doing is wrong. Don’t be afraid to communicate with them. They might even be shocked that you dare to speak up. By sending them a personal message, you make yourself appear to them as an actual person who can be hurt and feel pain, and less of virtual person whom they think might not even exist.

But do not send a hateful message of vulgarities, slurs and insults. You can’t fight hate with hate. Don’t be defensive and insecure about the whole thing. You don’t want to add on any more negative energy and make the whole matter worse. Be nice. Be the bigger person. That’s what that differentiates you from someone mean and hateful.

2. Expose them

Bullies often think that they can simply hide behind their computer screens while they go about spreading hate online. If you know who they are, you have the choice to tear off their veil of anonymity. Let them and their evil deeds come to light. Don’t let them get away for free. Let people know who they are. Warn others about them. By helping yourself, you also help others from getting hurt.

3. Own the names they gave you

Don’t let the labels the bullies put on you terrorize you. Own the ‘name’ by saying, “Hey, you can call me a xxxxx all you want but that won’t make you any better a person, or me, any worse.” The truth is, there is no point in telling the bullies to stop calling you what they call you. Because the more you dislike the ‘name’ or the ‘label,’ the more they will use it against you.

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So don’t be afraid to speak using the very terms that the bullies use on you. By not avoiding the use of those terms yourself, you show the bullies that you do not feel fear or sadness at the mere sight of those words. You own the names when you truly overcome the power they have over your happiness. Don’t let the words of the bullies make you doubt yourself, or hate yourself. Don’t let the names have power over you and your emotions.

4. Be open about it

Don’t allow yourself to be a victim silenced by fear. Don’t tell yourself that you are not affected when in reality you feel wounded and trapped. Don’t ignore the facts and what had happened. Because if you do–if you keep mum about it and act like you’re fine with everything–the bullies might really believe that you are alright, and that they are not hurting you that much. In this case, they might become even more aggressive with their taunting.

Be bold. You don’t have to be afraid if you have nothing to hide. Being a victim of online bullying is not something to be ashamed of. If you turn things around and make it something you are unafraid to be open and honest about, you will emerge as victorious. You win by being open about it.

This is how we fight bullying–by talking about it, sharing about it, and helping each other brave through it. While the bullies will always be there as bullies, every bullied person will come out of the battlefield as a stronger and wiser being.

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5. Tell your friends and family

We all need some love and support in the times of personal crisis. Just because you try to seek help and comfort in someone other than yourself doesn’t mean that you are weak–it just means that you are human. We are all social beings who need to talk to each other about our day and our feelings. It’s not healthy for anyone to keep everything in. At some point, you will have to let it out to feel better.

Nobody wants to be bullied, criticized or humiliated. It is not a nice feeling to be disliked by other people. At this point, instead of throwing yourself a pity-party and wallowing in your own self-sympathy, you should talk to your friends and family. You will be surprised by the amount of love and support you’ll get. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. And stop thinking that people will be ashamed of you.

It is necessary that you have your friends and family as your allies. Often, true friends will not only stand with their friend who is bullied, they will help to fight back as well. Let your friends and family speak up for you. This is not just your battle–it’s the battle of everyone who loves you. Friends and family are the perfect reminder that you are not alone and that you are loved.

6. Report/block them online

As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If you need to report or block the people who are harassing you, do so right now. Reporting or blocking people online doesn’t mean that you are “afraid of them,” or that you are “unable to handle them.” That would be the same as saying, I don’t wear a seatbelt while driving because I think I can handle the roads and I’m not afraid of accidents. But accidents do happen. Even if you don’t bump into people, some might just come crashing into you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Look through your privacy settings and make the necessary changes to better protect your private information and content. Social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, are not responsible for your protection. You are the one responsible for your own protection.

7. Ignore them

If it’s just a single hate comment or a small thing (not regular insults and spam), you should just ignore them. Let the haters do their thing. When no response is given to them, they will simply move on to other things and other people. Don’t always see the need to correct people, because most of the time they won’t care what you say. They won’t try to understand. Your explanation means nothing to them. Don’t become mean or aggravated because of them. If you choose to fight fire with fire, the whole situation is only going to drag on longer.

Remember: Be kind and forgiving. Don’t sink to their level.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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