We’ve all been there. You share a plant-based recipe, and someone attacks you over an ingredient. You do something nice for a person or organization, and someone ascribes ulterior motives to your good deed. You state a political fact, and someone states the opposite is true. You post a link to a Meatless Monday program as a gateway to veganism, and someone declares you’re in bed with the animal agriculture industry.
You pause, nod your head in disbelief, and ask yourself, What’s wrong with these people?
That’s just it. When people engage in abnormal and destructive behavior, there is something wrong with them. This approach isn’t how healthy-minded people act, and trying to rationalize with irrational people is an exercise in futility. Your time would be better spent turning the runway lights on for Amelia Earhart.
You may never figure out what makes people so deficient in the most elementary etiquette without subpoenaing their medical records. In the absence of a subpoena, here are four tips for dealing with unbalanced people on social media:
There are 7.3 billion people in the world. How much time are you going to spend on a few people who have repeatedly demonstrated they don’t get your message, don’t want to get it, and want to fight about it? Find people interested in listening to and sharing your message. Welcome opposing points of view, but set limits.
What happens after you block unhinged people? A healthy person couldn’t care less and moves on. But, unbalanced people aren’t healthy. Don’t expect a normal reaction. They usually become further unglued. They will claim that you’re saying things about them that you aren’t saying, contact you via other avenues, and spread falsehoods about you. Most commonly, in a tantrum that would make Veruca Salt proud and having failed their middle school chapter test on the U.S. Constitution, they will feverishly search for an audience to exclaim that you violated their right to free speech. Take the high road. In most cases, these individuals have no audience.
2) Keep Perspective
One of the most effective ways to rise above the fray is to keep your life in perspective. The people hounding you over trivial matters don’t matter. Watch the unforgettable Frontline episode Escaping ISIS. When you see what these children endure, it may remind you of your good fortune. Perspective is a grounding and rejuvenating force. Surround yourself with friends and family, consider all that is good in your life and your potential to improve the world, and forge ahead.
In a few days, you’ll forget it happened. Personal attacks are pesky but forgettable. Why do you get upset when someone unleashes a torrent of anger on you? You know the comments are false, but you feel like you need to prove it. You don’t. Will a few people who don’t know you believe it’s true? Maybe. But it won’t matter. Most won’t believe it. Most won’t even see it because it’s unlikely a person with so much negative energy has any audience.
4) Focus on Your Purpose
Define the meaning of your life. Stay focused on tasks that help you fulfill your purpose. Does spending time on a bully help you achieve your goals? Look forward. Keep doing what you find meaningful. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. You don’t want to spend your limited time trying to reason with irrational people. You’re needed elsewhere.
In summary, block, keep perspective, forget, and focus on your life’s purpose, so you’re prepared to cope with unhealthy-minded people. You’re also welcome to use the comments section of this article as a safe forum to share your experiences and receive support if you’re the victim of cyberbullying.