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Putting Your Big Girl Panties On: Dealing with Negative Comments

You Suck MagnetI recently got a comment from someone on my Mod Podge Rocks Facebook page telling me to “put my big girl panties on” because I had asked her not to discuss off-topic in my group.

WOW.

What a reality check.  I haven’t received a negative comment in a long time, and trust me – I’ve gotten worse.  I’m lucky in that most craft bloggers/commenters are very polite and so supportive, which says a lot about the crafting community.  I’m going to be honest with you though; I don’t like negative comments.  I’m one of those people that gets mad and wants to kick over a card table.  Plus it hurts.  Since I know they can be hard to deal with, I wanted to offer some tips for dealing so that it doesn’t send your day down the toilet.  Here’s my strategy, in five steps.

1.  Put it in perspective. The person who commented doesn’t know you – as a friend, family member, wife or mother.  You are not a bad person.  Negative comments reflect more on the person who makes them than you.  I always imagine that the negative commenter had a bad day and try to have a little sympathy, even when it’s hard.  That’s after I’ve taken a voodoo doll and stabbed it several times.  Kidding.

2.  Remember that you have put yourself out there. That does not mean that you deserve the negative comment; you likely don’t.  It just means that when you put yourself out there, you are going to reach a wide variety of people, not all of them nice.  Understand that when you blog, negative comments are going to happen.  One of my good friends said it best: “Amy, in a crowd of 100,000 people, it’s likely that a few are going to be crazies.”  Good point.  You may have done nothing to warrant negative comments, but your blog is public, so it’s like jury duty – one day your number will get chosen.

3.  Not everyone is going to like your crafts, and that’s okay. My colors are blue, blue and more blue.  I also like bright colors and generally unusually looking things.  What I make goes in my living room/bedroom/bathroom, and as long as I like it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  More importantly, NOT everyone is going to like it.  You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) answer for that.  A mere “I don’t like that” comment is irrelevant to the bigger picture of your craft blog as inspiration, and should be treated as such.

4.  Decide if you need to take action. For most negative comments, you just need to ignore it.  In some cases, you may want to respond or even remove someone from your blog or group.  In the nearly one year since I began my Facebook group, I’ve had to remove two people (including “big girl panties” comment).  I recommend establishing a personal policy.  I delete most negative comments unless they contribute to the conversation – then I provide an answer to the grievance.  If the comment is simply surly or hateful without merit, I delete it.  Offensive comments and people are removed.  Having a game plan helps.

5.  Move on. Give yourself some time to be angry, frustrated or annoyed . . . but limit that time and then move on.  Trust me, I know this is easier said than done.  I’m defensive of my work and really defensive of my blogging friends.  I want to bust out my “nunchuck skillz” when I hear negative comments.  But I have better things to do and so do you, like craft or grow your blog.  Don’t let anyone else take that from you.  It’s not worth it.

I hope my tips have helped you.  If you get a negative comment any time soon, don’t forget this: you are among great company.  It happens to the best of us.  Now go get yourself some Ben & Jerrys, or maybe a pedicure . . . how about some new craft supplies?  You deserve it.

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