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Amira McLaughlin

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In yesterday’s post, I shared some ways to deal with toxic people in your life. Today’s post tackles a similar subject, and that’s dealing with difficult people online. Almost all of us use online forums such as social media. Whether it’s for business purposes or personal reasons, we’re bound to encounter individuals who cause us problems online. Dealing with such people online is different than managing them in real life. Want to see what I mean? Keep reading.

Difficult People Online

You’ve probably already figured out that people can sometimes be even more aggressive and obnoxious online than they would be in person. That’s because it’s easier to hide behind a keyboard and computer screen and say mean things than it is to confront someone face-to-face. People can often feel brave and entitled to say things they wouldn’t ordinarily say when they have the anonymity of an online presence. Even people you know in person can act differently online than they would to your face. 

Various Scenarios

How to deal with difficult people online will vary based on the context of a situation. If you’re managing your business or professional online presence, you’ll need to take a different approach than you would when navigating a personal page. Similarly, encountering difficult strangers will vary quite a bit from confrontation with someone you know well. It’s wise to take the circumstance into account when determining how to deal with toxic individuals on online platforms. However, some common tactics can apply to almost any circumstance. 

Steps to Take

Whether you’re dealing with a business or personal account, it’s good to begin by acknowledging most individuals. If you show them that you hear them and you’re willing to listen, you can lower defenses and ease tensions. The person will likely be less defensive when this happens. Being online gives you a buffer to then think about your next move. When dealing in a professional setting, you can invite the person to move to an offline and less public venue to work things out. This could be through email or a customer service line. Sometimes something as simple as offering a coupon or discount code can help to satisfy them. 

If you’re dealing with someone you know in real life, this strategy can also be helpful. This is particularly true if you’re trying to salvage a relationship. However, suppose you’re dealing with someone who refuses to listen or is not interested in coming to a resolution. In that case, you may need to walk away from the confrontation. Blocking is always a possibility if the individual becomes particularly combative. Do not delete comments. It’s best to leave everything as is so that you have proof that you made an attempt to remedy the situation and that you’re transparent. 

Dealing with difficult people online can have its advantages because it allows you time to plan your strategy. Unfortunately, online forums also allow anonymity that allows some people to become more aggressive than they would in real life. Try to manage things with as little conflict as possible, but don’t be afraid to walk away if things get out of hand. 

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