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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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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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