Do You Know When To Ignore Or React?

This past week has been something else. As much as I’ve tried to stay out of the news arena it’s just hard not to see things that you don’t like, especially when it comes to politics. I then made a minor mistake by writing one line on Facebook, kind of an opinion thing where I also said that I didn’t want to talk about it, and that was my first mistake.

scream and shout
Mindaugas Danys via Compfight

This guy I was connected to (he left) came back in disagreement with me and posted a news link in my thread. He led with the line “how can you say that”. I wrote back that it was my profile and I could say whatever I wanted and left it at that. He countered with “I expected more than that from you”.

What the heck? Who did this guy think he was, saying he expected more from me on a topic I didn’t want to talk about? I got angry and responded, and man did I respond. I wrote the equivalent of 4 paragraphs in one (you know how Facebook is in its comments area) and told him if he really wanted to have this discussion I could come to his page and bury him in information (it’s an area in which I have lots of expertise). Seems he didn’t like that either and said some more thing, so I buried him in more, adding some facts and some passion (but never bad words; I never use bad words) and, well, never heard from him again.

The funny thing is that the next day another friend decided to pony in a comment that had nothing to do with the original comment, and I decided to ignore that. I found that intriguing in that I didn’t respond to her because one, I wasn’t mad anymore, and two, because it was off-topic and, well, she had a good point but it was one I really didn’t want to discuss either. lol

I’ve thought about this particular situation all week and I find that interesting in a way. Yes, I do think about things for a long time because I ask myself how I could have handled things better, even when I handle things in the correct way. The one question I ask myself is how I’d have responded to it if I’d made my original statement on the blog, followed up by a lot of information in its own right.

Well, I know one thing for sure. If someone responds and puts a link in the comment it automatically goes into the spam filter, so there wouldn’t be any worries there. That’s kind of a cop-out but it’s nice having legitimate reasons, so to speak, for not addressing certain things. I do the same with my comment policy, though I’ve noticed that no one who’s ever ended up in the spam filter because of a comment that’s somewhat dodgy has ever come back and mentioned it, and that would probably happen more often than not.

However, that doesn’t quite answer the question of if any of us knows when to ignore stuff we don’t like or when to respond to it does it? Do you have any criteria set for it? I actually do, and I’m going to share it, because it’s important for all bloggers to have some kind of standards to follow in their own space.

The first is if someone disagrees with you on your point of view but stays on topic. If you can’t back up your point of view on your own blog then you shouldn’t have said anything to begin with. Of course you have the right to expect a certain type of decorum when being responded to, but if someone gives you a cogent response I feel that you now have an obligation to respond.

The second is if someone else is being attacked in your space. I’ve done that often enough here over the years because this isn’t the place for personal attacks. I’m especially protective of my online and real life friends; heck, I go to bat for them on their blogs if someone behaves badly so you know I’m protecting them here as well.

Those are the only two times when you should feel obligated to say something to someone else. After that, if it continues just block them and move on with life; it’s not worth it anymore.

What if it’s a personal attack against you? Well, that’s somewhat different isn’t it? Truthfully, I’ve allowed it twice against me here, and the first time I battled with the person and she left, never coming back again, and the second time I never responded, left her comment there, and she came back some time later, apologized, and we moved on from there. In both of those posts the article was fairly broad and didn’t go after anyone specific, but for some reason it touched a nerve for each of them. However, the first person wanted to justify her bad behavior; nope, wasn’t having that.

Still, no one deserves to be bullied in their own space if they didn’t deserve it. If they did deserve it (and yes, sometimes people actually do deserve it), that’s another tale, but my warning to all bloggers is to never deserve it; you know better than that. 🙂

So I’ll ask this question: how do you decide when to ignore or react to negative feedback, and how do you do it? Let us know.

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26 thoughts on “Do You Know When To Ignore Or React?”

  1. My readership is more docile I suppose. I have not so far had to handle a situation like you have had to and I inevitably respond to all comments on my posts. The only exceptions that I make are on those from strangers who comment on the topic but what you so elegantly call oneliners. Those I ignore.
    Rummuser recently posted..Story 16. The Adventurer.My Profile

    1. Actually Rummuser, you have had a couple of posts where you’ve had some folks who have been, shall we say, disenchanted. Do did respond to those comments however, and it was always in a very dignified manner.

  2. Right now, I believe in possibilities. I believe that despite whatever proof I have, the things I say could be wrong (and someone else could be right).

    In the past, I really had a problem with arguments (I like debates, and I particularly liked proving my points. Heck, I even debated with myself all the time. I still do it, since it is an engaging and thoughtful activity).

    My policy right now?

    I don’t post my opinion online (maybe I should, but when I talk to my friends; they tell me that my ideas are bit too radical 😀 Another reason is that I keep changing my opinion – I see it as progress, progress towards the “truth”, whatever that is :D).

    If someone disagrees with me, I let them.I respect their disagreement (I don’t expect them to respect my opinion, so anger isn’t much of an issue). And I do acknowledge the fact that I can be completely wrong and they can be right (and that’s what I will tell them, that’s what I usually tell “them” now :D).

    Sometimes, ignoring is the best solution 😀

    As for personal attacks, let them come at me. I have no problem with that 😉 Right now, I am working on controlling my ego – I am not trying to get rid of it, just control it. They have the “right” to attack me (plus, these attacks will give me a chance to reevaluate myself).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your experience, Mitch 😀

    1. You’re better than me Jeevan. I’m not controversial all that often but I have my moments when I must speak. And I’m not all that good at letting things go, though I’m still working on it.

  3. So,I’m going to go off topic here a bit because this is what I deal with in my offline life. I let a lot of stuff slide because I just don’t feel like it’s important; but then I’ll share the incidents with other people and they’ll say that I should have reacted differently. Should I had reacted differently? I don’t know. I just know that I did what I had to do at that time.

    However, if I spend time thinking about the incident and let it get into my being, then I put emotion behind it and start reacting. I try to get to that point because it’s not healthy, and it’s just not worth it.

    I have not had that issue on my site but I would probably just let it rest and not react UNLESS you attack me personally, then there’s a problem.
    Marcie recently posted..Another Cure for Blogger’s Block: WordPress PluginsMy Profile

    1. I’m with you for the most part Marcie. When it gets personal you have to say something I agree. However, I think if you state something and receive a dissenting point of view it also needs to be addressed, whether you disagree with what they say or you see their point of view. In the long run that’s what blogging should be about. I also have to mention that I’m not necessarily the forgiving type; I’m working on that. lol

  4. Good Read! I have been getting a lot of interesting comments lately, mainly on Facebook, that are not always relevant or are negative. I have been trying to judge what to comment and what to just delete. Thanks

    Go Moment

    1. Chris, I think I’ve deleted 2 or 3 comments that weren’t spam ever in the almost 6 years I’ve had this blog. I’d almost rather leave a bad comment & let someone else look bad in perpetuity than remove it and let them off the hook. lol

  5. I approach it as this is just text on the page, which I then interpret and add emotion to. I choose to remove the emotion because How I react is my choice. If the person is not being outright disrespectful then we can have a conversation, even if the feedback is negative. We all all different and have different points of view. I just present my side and if you can take something from it then good, and if you can’t then you can’t. It is not my place to change anyone, they can only do that. All I can do is present a compelling argument to support my idea. Another thing I am comfortable with dealing with conflict and enjoy being solid in my foundation where I don’t let it get me upset.
    Aqiyl Aniys recently posted..Morning Hundred Sit-UpsMy Profile

    1. Welcome Aqiyl (no way I’m trying to pronounce that lol). You have a great perspective on things and I used to have that, but too many years of working for myself and not practicing all my skills as often have robbed me of some of that across the board. Truthfully I’m much better in person; not quite sure why. I’m always of the Dr. Phil mode; we teach people how to treat us. I’m also of the Bugs Bunny mode “I ain’t never done nothin’ to anyone who ain’t done nothin’ to me first.” 😉

  6. I think we all should show tolerance on difference of opinions because everyone is free to think what he/she wants. So there is no reason to criticize the people on their opinions or thinking. Especially when we talk about social media there are billions of people have their own profile accounts and they can share or say anything which he/she wants. I personally think that we should ignore these kinds of people who interrupt in others opinions and criticize their opinions without any reason. I will say tolerance is the key or success in this world, we can overcome thousands of problems with the help of tolerance.

    1. Good stuff Maria Jean. I fully agree, which is probably why I sometimes react and sometimes don’t. Whereas I hate confrontation, someone (can’t remember who) said “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” But I acknowledge that there are different ways to stand for something.

  7. Man I know EXACTLY how that Facebook thing goes.

    Back when I was on there more, I got into a huge argument with a dude over some music.

    Obviously music is so subjective no one can really “win”, so it just kept going. Normally I was used to this guy and I would let things go, but I was in a bad mood that night lol.

    He’s one of those guys who has to play devil’s advocate on everything. I mean I’ve never seen him just agree with anyone on ANYTHING. I’ve even caught him contradicting himself on some of our other friend’s post because he wants to disagree.

    I ended up spending a whole night going back and forth with him and finally “outlasted” him, I guess because he never came back. Unfortunately I had wasted a lot of time when I had work to do. As I stayed up late into the night to finish the work I should have done, I realized it wasn’t worth it, and added him to a list where he never sees any of my posts.

    On my blog, I tend to take the “Sales Lion” approach.

    See bad comment.
    Click delete.
    Continue enjoying life.

    Luckily I don’t get *really* bad ones anymore. Early on I had some name caller types but they moved on somewhere else, I guess.

    It has to be really worth it for me to spend my time on an online argument. My time is just worth too much. Those situations do come, but luckily not often for me.

    I’m glad you stood your ground on it and didn’t let him get the last word.

    Oh yeah, I believe if you press Shift-return in the Facebook comments you can break to a new line. I discovered that by accident a couple o’ years back…
    John Garrett recently posted..Time For Some Art – The Nova HelmetMy Profile

    1. Great comment John.

      First, I’m going to try that shift-return thing to see if it still works.

      Second, I did that as well one night and was not only still mad after the exchange but also exhausted because I just “had” to win, though in this particular case it was about an incident of racism and I just couldn’t let it go. You know how that one goes I’m sure.

      I began the year not watching news because I was tired of the gun debate and news bringing me down. Well, sometimes a topic is extra-special and you just can’t get away from it, which is what the new national health care plan is about when one doesn’t work for a large company, and nerves are frayed on all sides. It’s not only in the news; it’s the reality for many of us, me included as an independent. So that’s what the argument was about, yet I really didn’t want to talk about it to begin with, as it’s also my profession (and there’s still tons we all don’t know about it). The only way to avoid any type of disagreement on the topic was to never have brought it up; well, you know me. lol

  8. Mitch, I try not to get controversial on Facebook and the last week has been a hard one with everything going on in this country and everyone has their opinion which we must respect.which makes freedom, great, right?)
    I would either delete, or try to make something funny out of it to difuse the anger or backlash. Maybe send a private message saying we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry out in public….
    Lisa recently posted..4 Simple SEO Tips for BloggersMy Profile

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Well, you said something that I’m going to slightly disagree on; no, we don’t have to respect everyone’s opinion. Here’s what I mean. If you said “I hate the new health care plan”, I’m okay with that. If you said “I hate the new health care plan, it’s socialized medicine and Obama is the worst president in the world and has to go and this country shouldn’t have elected a black man to be president in the first place”, nope, there’s just no respecting something like that. And as odd as it seems, there have been people who have said that very thing in varying degrees, as if any of it really has anything to do with the health care plan. There are those extensions of commentary that sometimes are hard to allow to go past without commenting back. We’ve become a country where people spout stuff they know is salacious, mean, racist (take your pick), then when they get called on it they first say you misunderstood, then they apologize if they “offended” without apologizing for being stupid, because they still mean what they said. Last year 2 idiots lost elections they would have easily won if they hadn’t said stupid things about women and rape; sometimes folks have to learn to keep their mouths shut right? 🙂

      And I do try not to be controversial as well but sometimes that little imp slips out of the bottle.

  9. As I read this post I kept thinking about how your ideas relate to relationships. My marriage has improved a lot since I learned to keep quiet on certain issues. I seem to have finally developed the ability to look ahead and identify those things I would have wished I hadn’t said. At the same time, we need boundaries. There are just some lines that, if someone crosses them, you have to respond.

    This issue you had on Facebook — have you blogged about it? I’d be interested to know what it was about. (It’s sometimes helpful to see how others disagree with each other, without being in the middle of things.)
    bronxboy55 recently posted..Borderline AbuseMy Profile

    1. Charles, this was the blog about it. lol I’ve mentioned a few more things in comments but I wasn’t going to get more specific than I was here because I don’t want it to suddenly break out into a discussion item again.

  10. Mitch,
    I confess that I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to controversy, especially online. I’ve seen so many times when people start bullying someone either on their blog or on a social networking site. Facebook seems to be one of the sites where this happens the most often.

    I’ve had people disagree with me on my site and if I can, I try to nicely give them more information and if possible a link to a source that supports my information. One time, I had a guest blogger and a reader go back and forth (about the value of hiring a professional graphic designer vs hiring one of those low cost graphic design sites). I honestly did not know how to handle it. I chimed in until it started becoming a little hostile and then I let them go at it a little. I think I ended it as diplomatically as I could. If it had turned to foul language, I would have not allowed it but I do want people to be able to converse in the comments.

    BTW (At the risk of sounding like a total nerd and/or telling you something that you already know, you can avoid those massive paragraphs in FB comments by holding down the shift key when you hit the enter.)
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..E-Book Promotion Strategies, Using Hashtags and Google Analytics #FridayFindsMy Profile

    1. Welcome Sherryl. Actually, I didn’t know about that until I read a couple of comments before yours and saw that for the first time; I still haven’t had the chance to try it yet.

      I understand your position and I had something like that here once, where one commenter was going after another one, who handled himself very well. I let it go for a short bit, then I cut it off. Then I felt bad about it and wrote a follow up post on it. That one got personal though, or at least felt like it. Thing is, I believe the best guest posts get people talking, although you also hope it doesn’t scare anyone else away who might have thought about commenting.

      Not sure if you saw this post of mine about bullying but it’s turned out to be one of the most popular posts ever on this blog and, well, maybe it’ll address a part of what you’ve talked about:

  11. I can see a debate in the tread Mitch. I have to agree with you, that we have the right to post anything or say whatever we wanted (as long as, we are not lying, or bullying someone). I must say, a reliable source is needed when we are sharing certain news.

    In my opinion, even if the commentators are out of the topic or just wanted to bully and make it worse, just erase it or block them.

    I think I have to share this with you. This will be helpful to everyone who is suffering the same scenario. It is a whiteboard video that talks about the same topic. 🙂

    1. Not a bad video Metz, though I must admit that I’m not a bible fan; not religious in any way. And yet, the information is pertinent and powerful. Bullying easily can take many forms; of course in this case the person commenting towards me wasn’t bullying, nor could he if he’d tried.

  12. If it’s a troll, I usually ignore it. But if they’re trying to make a point, I make sure to handle it diplomatically. It’s hard though. Especially when they get into your nerves.
    Aras Androck recently posted..Nubri coming soonMy Profile

    1. Aras, trolls don’t get on this blog, and I don’t connect with any of them online either. And in other spaces, I just delete trolls and move on; that’s always the smart thing to do.

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