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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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26 Responses to “Putting Your Big Girl Panties On: Dealing with Negative Comments”

  1. Great advice. I have such a hard time with negative comments. I wish I had seen this article when I got my first one. It would have saved me a couple sad weekends – lol!

    oxox
    Jen

  2. Great post! I just had some not-so-sweet comments & I really do think some people are out of touch with the world. I have a hard time ignoring them, but I try! 🙂

    Happy new year to you!

    ~Kim

  3. Well written ~ you go girl! As Thoreau once said ~ “Go confidently
    in the direction of your dreams.”

  4. Amanda says:

    Excellent advice Amy. I think one of the most important lessons I have learned over the years is to not react immediately. Your first reaction is to lash back, that’s probably the worst thing that you can do. There’s nothing wrong with opening up Word or Notepad and letting your reaction flow on paper, if that makes you feel better, but don’t post that as a reply. You said the magic word, and that is that your blog is public, which means any reaction that you type will be read by your readers and fans as well. It’s important to remain diplomatic and respond in a professional manner that is on a higher level than the commenter. i also agree that out and out negative and mean comments that contribute nothing should just be deleted. However, if the comment is just an opinion that you take offense to, the best thing to do is mull it over and respond in a positive manner, respecting their opinion but carefully defending yourself in a way that does not make you look just as bad as the negative commenter. Having run a website for 10 years prior to my blog, my skin has become pretty thick and I am able to take criticism (most of the time) with a grain of salt. Sometimes they really rub me the wrong way, but having friends to share and vent to in a private setting (via email or something similar) is a great way to vent your frustrations before replying. 🙂

    Great tips my friend!

  5. Wonderful post! This will help many bloggers know how to handle these situations when they happen, and to know they are not alone; that it happens to everyone eventually.

  6. Megan says:

    Great post! Tips I’ll remember for sure. Thank you!

  7. Vicki O'Dell says:

    Great advice from everyone. I had a series of negative comments on another blog that I used to write for. I did talk to company officials when the negative comments got out of hand and appeared to be coming from a jealous co- worker. They said that it was GOOD to have opposing opinions. They said that opposing opinion comments actually improve blog traffic (opposing opinon, not mean and snarky maybe). Kind of like the folks who like to watch train wrecks I guess. I didn’t appreciate it, but I ignored them and eventually the commentor moved on to other things. I guess ignoring some of the milder comments is the best way to go. Once they see you can’t be baited they get bored and move on.
    By the way Amy, you don’t suck! You wayyyy don’t suck! 🙂

  8. Mari says:

    LOL; I JUST WROTE A POST ABOUT THIS ON MY XANGA! hahah! I started a modified 365 project type of thing and i disabled comments, and while i know that some people want to leave positive comments I just figured i’m not ready to deal with the negative ones… because i’ll tip over a Hummer… not a card table when i’m mad 😉 hehe

    <3 thanks!

  9. Karen says:

    I stumbled onto your site & started reading to kill time, I am very glad I did. Thank you for this post, it puts a lot into perspective as far as actually dealing with the negativity instead of just flip flyin mad & destroying half the house while inventing many new words that are not so nice to say the least.
    As far as putting on our “Big girl panties” I have thought seriously about embroidering that onto a pair of panties LMAO Just for “those days” hehehe
    Plan to keep following you, good or bad, so lets have it, give it to us straight!

  10. Elysa says:

    Hey Amy! That is so frustrating to hear, I’m sorry that you had to deal with that. Keep up the great work 🙂

  11. Rebecca says:

    You know, I love seeing posts like this. Negative comments are a fact of life and they aren’t relegated to the internet. I went to art college and one of the biggest lessons I learned there was how to give AND receive critique. It’s not easy to hear that something you worked hard on didn’t meet someone else’s approval but sometimes a negative comment can be a gold mine too. Don’t take it personally and try to look at it as a self-check system. Does the person have a point? If so, learn from it, thank them for their opinion, and try to use it to grow as a crafter. If it’s just mean and serves no constructive purpose, then just delete it. The internet is full of trolls. People who feel helpless in the real world sometimes try to extert power over others on the internet. They try to bait us into fights because getting a reaction makes them feel important. Just let it go and move along. The kind of person would would leave a mean or spiteful comment without any attempt to help you grow as an artist isn’t someone you should be worried about pleasing anyway. 😉

  12. What a stupid post! Hahaha. Jk. I’ve gotten some pretty nasty feedback and I can’t help but laugh. Who goes out of their way to tell someone that something they’ve made is ugly?! Someone who sucks at life. It takes so much courage to put yourself out there as you put it. It takes nothing to slap an insult on somebody’s hard work and sign it “anonymous.” I will certainly put on my big girl panties so long as some of these loser trolls get a life 😉

  13. shygal says:

    A few months back, I posted a how-to on a crafty site, and got viciously attacked in the comments and rating system during a contest, to the point where the person tried to recruit others to join in. I was stunned and hurt…I even cried. The people who ran the site took action, but to know a stranger would do that hurt. It’s good to see there are better ways than just not posting for months…and being a crybaby 🙂 i still don’t get why people act that way, aren’t we all adults?

    Thank you for the post! It made me feel better, and I am going to put myself back out there with my ideas.

  14. Belinda says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I share you angst since I am also a blogger and I have also owned several Yahoo groups. My philosophy is to ignore or delete the comments most of the time. I don’t even bother to answer in most cases unless it is evil. I have no problems deleting or banning as a policy. I put myself out there and have long decided that I am the only one that has to like my art. I figure that since the techniques and ideas that I put on my blog for people to glean from are free, if they don’t like it, then they can go somewhere else. I don’t need to hear about it, if they don’t like it or don’t like me. Sure, it pisses me off. I grouse but then I move onto the next thing. Life is too short.
    Belinda

  15. Brook says:

    I am so glad I read this. I just started a blog today. I am one who would let a comment on something I did bother me for a week. What did I do wrong? Did I write something that upset them? Are they having a bad day?
    I find it one my strengths to be very forward with people but I do not go around posting that peoples work looks bad even when I absolutely believed it and was wondering why everyone else was doing some major flattery. I do not post I like things unless I really do. Whats great is that the world is huge and ones persons junk is another’s treasure, that goes with attitudes and peoples kids too.Its sad the golden rule of “Dont have nothing nice to say dont say it” has been thrown out with some peoples new found definition of Freedom of speech.Thanks for the reminder of what I possibly may deal with I think seeing your post was the spirits way of giving me a heads up.

  16. Deanna says:

    I’m sharing this! Thank you for putting this out there!

  17. Joanna says:

    Thanks for the advice (found it throu craftgossip). I just wonder, if you dont like something then why take the time to post negative comments?
    Perhaps some people dont have better things to do lol 🙂
    Gonna share this at my blog.

  18. Great Advice 🙂 Now if I could just get a comment at all! 😉

  19. Shanny says:

    Thank you for this great tip Amy! I’d be sure to remember that every now and again we do have mad ppl running the streets… 🙂

  20. Snowcatcher says:

    Thank you for this. This is a great list and a great way to train myself to be ready for the next time. I wish I’d seen this back in February!!! 🙂

  21. Great post, Amy – thanks for sharing! My favorite line is: “Negative comments reflect more on the person who makes them than you.” Love that! (And so true!)

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