There’s no avoiding it. Sooner or later, you’re gonna cross paths with a troll and they are going to do what trolls do best: crush your spirit, stomp on you, spit on you, mock you, and belittle you and everything you’re about.
Whether under the protection of sweet internet anonymity, or someone that you meet in person – eventually someone is going to tell you that what you’re doing is pointless, and that you need to return back to the societal mold. You shock them with your daring to be unconventional and live an epic life and, convinced that they are right and you are wrong, try to set you straight.
I’m not going to speculate as to why trolls troll, but I have taken a fair deal of it and I think I can offer some advice as to dealing with it. The advice is separated into different levels of temperament and tolerance. Obviously, it’s best to filter out trolls in your life so that you never even have to deal with them, but sometimes, you just can’t avoid them.
Level One: Calling Out The Troll
For a troll that simply dismisses you – say a relative who thinks you’re being unrealistic or sends you an email telling you they think what you’re doing is pointless – it can be quite hurtful, even if you know their opinion doesn’t really matter.
So let them know! Tell them that you don’t appreciate them trying to hurt and belittle you and your lifestyle.
Level Two: Let It Slide
You can’t argue with trolls, you can’t reason with trolls, and you certainly can’t change a troll. Well, maybe, if you’re persistent, patient, and really care to. But, let’s just assume you don’t. So, let it go. Nobody said the road to epic wouldn’t be bumpy – and trolls are bumps you’re just going to have to ignore and not let effect you. Remember that you’re freaking epic, and no troll can bring you down.
Don’t give in to the troll and don’t feed the troll. Doing these just embolden the troll to do more damage. If they’ve posted a troll comment on your site, just delete it and ignore it. If it’s an email then, again, just delete it. If they had a legitimate critique, they wouldn’t be trollin’ – they’d be nice and constructive with their criticisms. Trolls aren’t nice. They are nasty, ugly beasts. And they live under bridges. And they smell.
If it’s an in-person troll, then smile, nod, and hum a little tune in your head. Think about some funny jokes or maybe cats you’ve seen on the internet. Allow the troll to expel their energy, but don’t let it phase you. I’ve found this technique to be a handy way to pretend to be polite with trolls whom I can’t exactly ignore or tell to go away. As soon as you can, break away and give your time (and attention!) to someone more deserving.
Let it slide. If you don’t acknowledge them they’ll get bored and move along and troll elsewhere.
Level Three: Troll the Troll
No, don’t be mean to the troll and spam them with hate, (you don’t want it to escalate, do you?) but the ultimate trollback (oh, I came up with a new term!) is to have an awesome, successfully epic life and not to be afraid of sharing it with everyone.
Remember when we were little, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt?” Well, words can hurt, but only if you let them. Be strong, keep calm, and carry on. You march only to the beat of your own drum – nobody else’s.
*All images are from the Know Your Meme page on Trolling, found here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/subcultures/trolling#.TjnrM93ho44