In today’s actively social age, critics are everywhere.
Some criticism is actively helpful, even when it’s tough to hear. Other criticism really stings. Inevitably, you will encounter a harsh critic – what we’ll go ahead and call a “Hater.”
Whether a Hater has picked apart your latest project, written a nasty comment on your piece, or shot you an acerbic email, it’s hard to know how to deal with what feels like unfair vitriol. Below are 8 time-tested ways to deal with Haters… in the most mature and constructive fashion imaginable, of course! *
1. Variations on “your mother” jokes
Make a “your mama” joke inside your head. Be amused for ten seconds; mourn that you cannot share your hilarious joke with others. Suddenly feel guilty. Probably Hater’s mother is a perfectly lovely woman. Hater probably doesn’t even appreciate her the way he/she should. And anyway, isn’t it vaguely anti-feminist to blame everything on people’s mothers? How come we never say “your daddy?” Now you’re the jerk, aren’t you? Maybe Hater was right. … sulk.
2. Have elaborate imaginary conversations
Fantasize about destroying your Hater’s points in a widely-attended, Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Imagine his/her face crumpling when you deliver your last, cutting bon mot, ensuring victory. Will the crowds simply jump to their feet, or will they insist on carrying you out of the arena on their shoulders? Bonus points if you act out both sides of the conversation under your breath in public.
3. Commiseration with overly-sympathetic loved ones
Go and cry on the shoulder of your most prejudiced loved one – the one who will assure you that Hater is a total jerk, and probably just jealous. Believe every bit of their flattery – geniuses ARE unappreciated in their time, aren’t they? [Loved One] is so perceptive.
4. Petty thoughts
Yes, Hater may have hurt your feelings, but his/her HAIR is TERRIBLE.
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Maybe Hater didn’t really write what you thought he/she wrote. You’re probably just amplifying it in your mind. Maybe you should just go back and look at the e-mail in question – it’s so easy to mistake tone, after all! Just go back and check, it’s probably not so bad!
(SPOILER: it’s worse.)
Fine, if Hater is going to be so nasty about it, maybe you won’t do any more work at all, ever. Then they can all see how they get along without you. Sure, you’ll get fired and won’t earn any income and then you will starve to death but when the world is looking at your pitiful bone-thin little corpse they will REGRET EVER HAVING LISTENED TO HATER AND IT WILL BE TOO LATE THEN, WON’T IT?
Oh, God. Hater was right the whole time. You know it’s true. Oh God, you’re doomed to failure. Oh God, your life is a lie. Oh God, you’re going to have that naked-in-school nightmare again tonight, aren’t you? Oh God oh God oh God oh God.
8. Feigned indifference
You don’t care! You totally don’t care. Sure, you went down the rabbit hole for a little while there, but now you are a thick-skinned model of resilience. You don’t care what Hater thinks, do you? Nope. Nope. You do not care. And if he/she wants to call up and apologize and admit how very wrong he/she was, that does not matter one whit to you. You’ll be waiting by the phone at 5:30 PM tonight, but that’s a complete coincidence and if he/she calls, whatever.
*Okay, maybe not so maturely or constructively. But you know you’ve done at least one of these – haven’t we all?
Leave your haterade below! ☺
Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.