Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line.
(note: This first question hit my inbox before the most recent spate of unhappy comments happened here on my blog, and I blithely typed up my advice, intending to publish it a few Mondays ago. Given that I totally let the comments get under my skin this time, though, I certainly cannot claim to be an expert. So, fellow bloggers, take my advice as coming from one who’s in the trenches with you and is just as susceptible to discouragement as you are! And know that I fail to follow my own advice sometimes. Ahem.)
I recently started blogging and just got my first negative comment! It was a letdown. The person had read my post and responded to it unkindly (and unfairly), I thought. I have comment moderation enabled so I just deleted the comment rather than posting it. But it kind of brought me down this morning!
What’s your advice for dealing with unkind comments?
I’m so sorry to hear that…I know firsthand how much negative comments can sting. People can be surprisingly unkind on the internet. It’s almost like they forget that there’s a real live person on the other end of the blog, a person with feelings.
When I first started getting negative comments, they bothered me even more than they do now, so be hopeful! Your skin will probably get thicker with time. I tend to be a people-pleaser, so dealing with negative comments has been a good growing experience for me. Painful, but good.
Here are a few tips for dealing with negative comments.
1. Take some time before you respond.
My first instinct is to type up a defensive response, but I usually can produce a more level-headed comment when I’ve had some time to ponder the negative comment.
2. Win the commenter over with kindness.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it happen here on my own blog…when I respond to a rude commenter with kindness and patience, 9 times out of 10, that person comes around and answers back politely. Resist the urge to sink to the level of the rude reader! You may win over that commenter, and your readers will respect you for your restraint.
3. Don’t feel like you have to defend yourself indefinitely.
This is a temptation I’ve given in to far too many times (cough*that infamous couponing post*cough. Sometimes defending yourself can just complicate matters, and a wiser response is something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m doing what I think is right for my family.”. That sort of ends the conversation.
4. Humbly look for a nugget of truth in the comment.
Sometimes rude comments do have a valid point couched in unkind words, so don’t be too quick to dismiss the whole thing. If there’s something to learn from the comment, take that to heart.
5. Remember that you can’t please everyone.
No matter what you do, someone, somewhere on the internet will be upset. For example, people have criticized me both for not feeding my children enough fruits and vegetables AND for not feeding them enough rice and potatoes.
People may also make unreasonable demands of you and expect you to tailor your blog just to their liking. You’ll exhaust yourself if you try to keep up with that, though, so stay true to your goals and beliefs, and don’t let demanding people derail you.
6. Consider the source.
If a negative comment comes from a long-time faithful commenter, you may want to take it seriously. But if it’s a comment from someone who seems to be a troll or who hasn’t been reading your blog for long, recognize that comment for the ridiculous thing that it is, and brush it off.
For an example of this, check out the following recent comment (I didn’t change the spelling on anything!):
SIGH, another, dime a dozen, stay at home “frugal” (read husband pays for everything, while god zombie mombie pretends to stay busy)mom who will delete any commetns that dont kiss her butt and whorship at the alter of the boring, mombie
I just let those kind of comments slide right off my back…they’re so crazy, you have to laugh at them! Being called a god zombie mombie is downright hilarious, wouldn’t you say?
7. Talk to someone about it.
Poor Mr. FG has to listen to some of my negative comment rants, but talking about it with him really does help me to feel better, and he also helps me to see if the comment has any validity.
If you’re a Christian, it’s also a good idea to talk to God about it…I try to pray for wisdom, and for help to be patient and kind when I respond.
On a separate note, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the number of negative comments you receive.
1. Don’t pretend to be perfect.
When people see someone who is trying to appear flawless, they’ll be on a sharp lookout for any fault to point out, but if you own your imperfections, people will be less anxious to talk about your flaws.
2. Try to see things from other people’s point of view.
When you blog, remember that your post can be read by anyone in the world. When I remember that, it helps me to think more carefully about what I’m saying and how I’m saying it…I put more thought into my words when I blog than I do when I’m just shooting the breeze with a group of like-minded friends.
3. Don’t be all “My way or the highway!”
Or at least don’t be that way when you’re talking about stuff that doesn’t much matter. What you do may not work for everyone else and it’s good to point that out.
Hang in there! I think you’ll find that most blog readers are just lovely people….I know that’s certainly true of my readers.
Love your blogs…have painted furniture following your suggestions. Now I want to repaint my kitchen cabinets. Have you painted previously painted kitchen cabinets? If so…I’d appreciate your guidance. They are white now although you can tell the paint has soaked right in and they are kind of rough to touch. I want to repaint them white so need advice on what kind of paint and basic instructions.
I haven’t painted mine (I’m stumped on color or I would!), but I’d treat those cabinets the same way I treat furniture, except that I wouldn’t stress about sanding them down to bare wood. Just sand them enough to make them smooth and to take the gloss off of the finish. Also, I wouldn’t use the spray primer I recommend, unless you can take the cabinets outdoors. Spray painting inside is a bad idea! Just use the brush-on primer that Rustoleum makes.
I strongly recommend using the exact Rustoleum brush-on paint I recommend in my How to Paint Wooden Furniture post…using other paint will give you a rougher, less professional finish.
Today’s 365 post: I’ve been shooting in manual a bit more.