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Staying positive when negative attitudes fly online

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Being positive has proven to improve your health, strengthen relationships with people and let’s face, it make each day better. While positive people attract other positive people, they can also attract a few negative moths to the flame. The trick is to not let these people suck the happy from your personal bubble. So, how can you stay positive when the negative attitudes fly? Let’s look at how your response controls the outcome.

Scenario: Mary posted what she feels is her best article ever on her blog. The fourth comment is a troll trashing her content and her blog.

Negative response: Mary gets angry and unleashes a nasty response to the troll which turns into a huge comment thread that gets continually worse. People who read the great article, get to the comments, but leave without responding or commenting since they don’t want any part of the negativity. Mary washed away her own hard work by taking things personally and responding in a way that she now regrets.

Positive response: Mary thanks the troll for his comment and doesn’t take it personally knowing that when she publishes online it’s a possibility that this might happen. By not adding fuel to his original negative comment, Mary takes away the troll’s power.

The only difference in Mary’s outcome was her reaction and response to the situation. Positive thinking, not just putting on rose-colored glasses, can help you deal better with stress by allowing you to look for solutions and encourage favorable outcomes rather than having a melt-down. Life throws curve balls every day and we can choose to hit the ball or duck.

Like everything online, you start with good intentions. You intend to check Facebook for a minute or pin just one thing, and the next thing you know, an hour has passed. The same goes with our positive mindset which can quickly change by being affected by a negative attitude or angry comment thread. Without meaning to we can get washed into the conversation, become angry or upset and then have to deal with that mood change.

Let’s look at a few ways that these people suck the joy from the interwebs.

Troll comments

These always have to do with the small minds that write them and not your content. Thoughtful, intelligent people can and do disagree with respect. Don’t feed the trolls by engaging with their frequently off-topic, bizarre comments. Delete the comment if it’s offensive otherwise just ignore it.

Comment hijackers

Meant to take the wind out of a fantastic conversation, these off-topic naysayers may not be at the troll level but they aren’t being social if they’re killing the positive vibe. These people may seem like they’re engaging but they are really putting the brakes on communication.

Passive aggressive whiners

Facebook is full of them. They post status updates all day like “I can’t believe I have to go through this again!” or “Why do all these things happen to me?” These are vague comments meant to engage people in the “oh my, what happened” line of conversation. If you have a problem or need help, talk to your friends straight up and get some positive advice. Work it out.

Inappropriate jerks

Block them.

Negativity spreads like wildfire and getting sucked into the faux drama doesn’t do anyone any good. Protect your bubble of positivity by moving on when you see this behavior.

The bottom line is negative people are floating around the social sphere and it’s up to you to create your social landscape. Talk to the people who share your positive outlook, nurture friendships with those who add value with their comments and share content that interests you.  Self-serving, “poor me” folks aren’t offering anything of value. Consider the people who you talk to and afterwards think “wow, that was awesome,” these are the gems. Polish and nurture these friendships to maintain a connection with them. Conversely, analyze the conversations that drain your energy and leave you feeling depressed. Who needs that? Leave the vampire energy drainers on the vine.
A quick recap on how to handle the situation when negative people pop up:

1. Ignore them.

2. Don’t engage in name calling or try to one-up nasty comments. You don’t need that on your permanent social record.

3. Deflect with humor if possible.

4. Ask them to stop.

5. Block them if they are inappropriate or cross the line.

You have the power to make your day what you want it to be by actively making the decision to choose positivity over negativity. Be proactive in your social choices and your social relationships can boost your positivity and bring meaning to all that you’re doing. Make the decision boost your positive environment and be aware of the pitfalls, you’ve got this!

How do you handle it when you see these types of behaviors? Share your tips with me in the comments.

Photo credit Alan Cleaver
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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  1. Years ago, after an unfortunate confrontation with a very negative co-worker, a wise colleague asked me, “Why didn’t you just walk away?” 
    My answer? “Because that option hadn’t occurred to me.” 
    It was great advice I’ve never forgotten, and metaphorically works equally well online as well.
    Thanks for your great post.

    1. Scottatsm4hc Having a plan ahead of time helps for those times when things do happen. There are people, like your former co-worker, that thrive on negative behavior and cause drama. I’ve worked with people like and when they are out of the office everyone says “I’m so glad so and so isn’t here today” because no one likes the cloud of negativity they bring.

      While we can’t avoid all of these situations, we can control how we respond to them. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. I needed to read this. I love your positive attitude. It’s funny cause a lot of times I am telling people to ignore/block and dont engage. I have seen some crazy stuff happen the few days.  
    I guess I forgot to remember all of this stuff. Thanks for the reminder. xo

      1. JessicaNorthey It’s easier said than done sometimes and it would be very easy to respond with our first comment that we might regret later. We need to take the advice we give to others. 🙂

  3. It really takes a massive amount of willpower to walk away, especially in the virtual realm where is so easy to fire off a retort. Thanks for the reminder Peg 🙂

    1. KimberlyReynolds It really does, Kimberly, but using your willpower is so worth in this case. I guess we use our willpower for all the har stuff, right? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    2. You’re right, Kimberley, it does take a lot of willpower. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Hi Peg I could read your article because I found it re-twitted
    on Twitter by one of the people I’m following, the great AJ Hoge @ajhoge,
    and I really appreciate your positive attitude! My “motto” is: “Be
    Strong and Positive In Any Situation And Help Other People To Be The
    Same”, and sometimes I find it very difficult to maintain this attitude,
    but that’s what I want to learn to do constantly! I like the idea of
    the “bubble”.. haha.. and it’s great when two bubbles meet: it becomes a
    Positive Satellite and it also can become a Positive Planet, why not?
    I’m happy to share with you all the ideas you expressed! Thank you for
    this article, it is really empowering! And thank you for sharing with us
    all your vein of positivity!
    FriendlyJulia form Italy

    1. Nabla765
      Nice to meet you Julia! I love Italy.
      I love your motto and it’s great that you have one as a touch stone for you. It is hard to maintain at times when there is a lot of other forces pushing but having your ideals in your heart and keeping faith in them will make your stronger day by day.
      I love this >> ” it’s great when two bubbles meet: it becomes a Positive Satellite and it also can become a Positive Planet!’ Let’s do it!

  5. I am usually called on in retail situations to defuse a negative situation. I do it with understanding and humor. It always works. Online, I ignore or delete the type of negative comments you cited. Not worth my energy or time.

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