7 Recommendations On How To Stop Baiting Yourself Into Commenting On Social Media

Yesterday I witnessed the piling on of someone who commented on a Facebook post by a friend of mine. It started out innocently enough… kind of, as my friend posted a graphic relating to politics. She included a one-line statement, it was pretty innocuous, but left itself open to interpretation.

That’s diet soda!

A couple people responded in agreement with what the image showed. But… wait for it… pretty soon someone else responded who wasn’t totally feeling what everyone else was saying. It wasn’t that she disagreed with the image as much as the “implication” that it meant “all” people like her… which no one had actually said.

From that point it was on (no, I didn’t participate; I’ll be coming back to that), and it wasn’t pretty. One of the people she confronted first didn’t like that she’d been confronted on something she didn’t specifically say, and her response was along the lines of being shouted down for who she was more than for what she said. After a couple of times with these women going back and forth, the lady who felt affronted called on some of her friends by name to join the “conversation”… and the beating was on!

I didn’t comment because I stopped commenting on political things a long time ago. I still comment on race and diversity issues, and of course I comment on health care (if you’re unsure why, check out my About page link up there on the left). But politics… nope. Religion… nope. However, I did check out some of the comments because I was curious on how it might be interpreted by others, expecting only a couple of comments. When the firestorm got a bit too hot, I felt for the woman trying to defend her position, then decided it was best to leave things alone.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post on my business blog titled Do You Feel Guilty By Word Association?. I talked about things that were posted innocuously that, for whatever reason, other people decided they had to have their say about, only to deal with the consequences of those actions. The thing was, none of it had anything to do with them, yet they felt compelled to defend themselves… something that happens all the time.

All of us do it at some point; social media is filled with the graves of words and thoughts that were stated innocently yet taken wrong by others. When that happens, we can either defend ourselves to no end or decide to give up the ghost and live another day; I almost always choose the latter. For more, check out this video:

Handling Social Media Faux Pas


See, even I do it! Luckily, it’s rare that I do it. That’s because most of the time I’m cognizant of how things are going to go if I jump into something without thinking about it first. Unless it’s a throwaway comment that I’m surprised anyone’s paying attention to, if I comment on a topic you can bet I’m ready for the fight… which almost never materializes. 🙂

What most people need to learn is how to stop being baited into commenting on things that people post on social media that have nothing to do with them, especially if their position is contrary to what the originator stated. I know it’s not always easy, but if you can learn to limit your participation you’ll feel a lot better mentally.

I’m here for you; thus, some tips for keeping yourself out of discussions you don’t want to be in:

1. If you read something that bothers you, give yourself at least 30 seconds to process it. The worst confrontations happen when people immediately respond to something without thinking about it first.

2. If the person who’s irking you is someone you know, maybe you should think about knowing them. Yeah, that’s a bit harsh, but we both know that everyone you know isn’t necessarily someone you like. It could cost you some personal capital if you put someone you know on blast in the open. If you’re willing, it’s fine. If not, you have lots of options.

3. If the person getting on your nerves is someone you don’t know, take some time looking at what others have said to the person. It’s possible that what you have to say has already been said, which means you can leave it alone.

4. If you feel you have to say something, come at it from a different direction that puts them on the defense. An example here would be when I decided to challenge a guy who’d said some things about Serena Williams, to the extent that he’d shown up on Sports Illustrated. I checked out his Twitter feed, then baited him (yup, I did that lol) with one line… and he responded. He thought I was going to come at him the same way everyone else did; instead, I debated him about ethics, which turns out to be something he wasn’t prepared for… and failed miserably at. 🙂

5. Think about your reason for wanting to say something. Are you hoping to change someone’s mind (which rarely happens) or are you in the mood to vent? If it’s the first, make sure your opening statement is solid and non-confrontational. If it’s the second… don’t be a Homer. lol It never ends well.

6. Don’t be a rebel without a cause. By this, I mean don’t get riled at everything across the board that sets you off. Decide what really bothers you based on how it might affect you and leave everything else alone. I comment on racial issues because I’m black (in case the picture confused you lol), and I comment on issues regarding “ism’s” of all types because I speak and write about diversity issues. I talk about health care because… did you check that About page?

7. Think about your own peace and happiness. Will getting into an argument over something bring you either of those things? Is it important enough that it has to be said? Or can you step away, knowing deep inside that someone else will take up the mantle and let you stay calm for another day?

That’s all I’ve got. If you still get into trouble, don’t blame me! 🙂

18 thoughts on “7 Recommendations On How To Stop Baiting Yourself Into Commenting On Social Media”

  1. I don’t comment on certain topics too. Last week I watched someone get into a heated debate on FB, but I did not bother commenting. She called in some of her friends to back up what she said and for them to gang up on the people that had a different opinion.
    I don’t understand why people post things and then get butt hurt when someone disagrees?

    These days, if I do comment on political stuff it is on someone page that is dedicated to that, but it takes a lot for me to do that. And I comment on blogs and some YT videos, but as for the other social media sites, I don’t bother commenting on certain topics when a friend/follower posts something that isn’t my cup of tea. I just keep it moving.

    Thanks for the tips!! 🙂

    1. Glad to share Evelyn. Sometimes we all need to take a few beats away before thinking about responding. The main problem is that people don’t talk like that to us in person, so we’re not used to it when someone does so on social media. It takes a bit of self control not to get baited; I’m good maybe 98% of the time. lol

  2. Hi Mitch, I love your 30 second rule – I sometimes wait 30 minutes. I then think – will it really matter a year from now? If not I will response. If so I will wait until I am not upset and then respond.
    I also like your video about investigate first. I can’t believe YOU got in trouble on Twitter 🙂 LOL.
    I always try to think what my mother would think too if I am not sure about posting something or commenting. She’d be reading from heaven 🙂
    Great points Mitch, have a great day!

    1. LOL! The problem is that I tend to rely on old knowledge when dealing with new things sometimes. You remember, we didn’t have the internet and couldn’t research everything back in the day, so you relied on what you could find in books… which didn’t cover everything. At least this time I did try… I just didn’t read everything; oops!

      I find people are more rude to others online, and I hate that so much that sometimes I snap without thinking things through; luckily I don’t do it often. That never happens in person; it might start happening as I get older and less intimidating. 😉

  3. There you go, again. Asking people to think before they act or say something.

    Now, don’t throw things at me because I don’t know when you went to a red background. But I don’t like it. Makes hard on my older eyes.

    1. LOL! I had to take about 5 minutes to think about what you were talking about, then I realized you must be reading the mobile friendly version on your phone. I rarely see it so I never think about it being red.

      As for the rest of it… I’m a demanding kind of guy aren’t I? 😀

  4. Hey Mitch, thanks for the quick guidelines. It can sometimes be hard to keep your heart out of social media but you don’t need unnecessary drama or added drama to your life.

  5. Hey Mitch,

    This is kinda normal but we should all know, we have different opinions.

    That you posted something according to your opinion doesn’t mean anyone’s got same opinion with you!

    When anyone posts his or he opinion on a topic, he should be ready to listen to others’opinion on the topic.

    Not Bag in to debate.

    I definitely do not waste time commenting on such Posts, especially one that had nothing to do with me!
    Truly, it’s tempting at times, but the more we avoid, the better!

    Great Tips Mitchel!

    Have a nice one

    1. Thanks Prosper. Actually, the person who posted the topic that inspired this post wasn’t part of the piling on. It was others who came in and went after the one lady after she inadvertently said the wrong thing & didn’t know how to get out of it.

  6. Hey Mitch,

    I tend not to comment on people’s opinions, especially if theirs a heated debate going on.

    Guess you can say that I’m not the type of blogger who likes confrontation. I realize that everyone has different opinions and I tend to respect people’s opinions.

    If I don’t agree with it and feel like I need to comment, then I’ll write my response on a text editor.

    If it sounds good and I really want to post it, at least I know that I’ve checked and rechecked it before posting.

    Usually, it ends up getting trashed. Not really worth my time and effort getting involved with these types of posts.

    Although sometimes they can be fun to read with a cup of coffee.

    Thanks for sharing these tips and how to handle ourselves on social media.

    Have a great day 🙂


    1. Hi Susan! For the most part I’m with you on all these arguments. I’m a lot more judgmental in deciding what I will or won’t walk myself into. My usual hope is that I’m not the cause of any of it except for times when I decide I have to say something in a blog post. Course, what I usually find is that I write those posts and no one wants to say anything; that’s usually on my business blog. lol

      Then again, that’s me generating some heat, realizing what could come but in that moment I don’t care because it has to be said. When it’s someone else’s heat… I’m staying away as best I can.

  7. Oh yes, these sorts of things make me mad and sad to read. It’s a train wreck waiting to happen and there is no upside. I try my hardest not to comment at all. And, sometimes it’s tempting, but then I think about how mad it will make me and how my mind will get mad and be less productive. And, I don’t the higher blood pressure. I try to take a deep breath and then play with my pets. They really help.

    1. It’s definitely hard to stay away but I’ve gotten better at it. Thing is, you sometimes don’t see it coming at you and in those times is when you have to be willing to let the other person have the last word and move on. Every once in a while I just can’t let go though; but I never carry it longer than it needs to be.

  8. Hey Mitch, you know me mate, I’m not one to fly off the handle. I dislike confrontation and unless the issue means a lot, an awful lot, or is about someone I know then I stay away.

    After all, it’s not hard to step back from social media. I don’t know why so many people get sucked into these silly online arguments.

  9. I think, if we do not agree with someone’s statement then we must ignore his/her post. No one in the world had same nature of thoughts. So, if we start arguments it will end in a fight. I have few friends who support those parties i hated. But, i never started such arguments on their post. Yes, i am free to post anything on my newsfeed but arguing can end a relationship of strong friendship. So, i mostly avoid doing so. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this article. Keep posting such article. Thank you 🙂

    1. Anita, I think we all get to pick and choose what we want showing up in our streams on social media. Most of the people I’m connected to believe in the same things I do. Some of them go a lot further than I do and that’s when I don’t want to be a part of it. As for the other side… I know a lot of people believe the only way we could possibly know what the other side believes is to talk it out. I don’t believe that’s true for everyone and, except for a few things important to me, I’d rather just stay away or block it all.

  10. Hi Mitch,
    Great topic especially these days. Sometimes my hands hurt scrolling through all the political stuff. I don’t get involved with that at all.
    However, sometimes it peeks my interest and I like to read the comments. Almost all the time there is someone there to cause chaos. I would just either block them or not answer them if it wasn’t appropriate.
    I’m not on social media to get upset about some foolish things or arguments. I’m on there to do business and catch up with distant family members.

    1. Hi Donna. I’ve got FB taken care of, and Twitter’s okay as well. My problem these days is LinkedIn, which is scary. I work to keep myself out of little skirmishes, and though I’m pretty good at it, I have my topics that I can’t stay away from. I hope that as of next week things will calm down a bit… but I don’t have high hopes for it unfortunately, so the best we can do is moderate ourselves as best as we can.

Comments are closed.