If you don’t have anything nice to say, maybe you’re just not thinking hard enough. Here are a few ways to be mindful of how we share online:
Compliment or Constructively Criticize
What value will the reader gain from your response? Are you complimenting their efforts or providing constructive criticism to help them grow? If you are not doing either, is responding with a degrading comment really going to benefit either of you? Criticism can help others learn more about themselves when said and received with humble intent.
Actions Have Effects
Remember that words have power, and think through the impression yours might leave on the person on the other side of the screen. Whether the comments are anonymous or not, when one receives a hateful remark it can hurt because when they read it, they don’t hear the writers voice, they hear their own. When you find yourself in the position of wanting to respond negatively to someone’s post, consider the reaction of the receiver. To be a gracious commenter, you must take pride in all that you share and consider how the other individual might react to your comment.
Now, when we receive negative comments, it can make us feel defensive, insecure and may be difficult to swallow. Here’s how to respond when life throws you bad reviews:
Don’t Take it Personally
Rather than seeing negative comments as a personal attack, learn to take them as feedback from someone else’s point of view. However, if you feel the comment is purposefully degrading, try responding in a polite way to keep bitterness from rising up in your own heart. Remember, you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. If you concentrate on finding the good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude.
Learn from Teachable Moments
Sometimes the easiest way to handle receiving a negative remark is when you are removed from the conversation. It’s simpler to see the faults of an issue when you are an uninvolved third party. Use real-life situations to compare and learn from. Examine how other people or organizations have faced negative comments and take note of what you liked about how it was handled and what you would do differently.
A gracious lady is one who is selfless and considerate of the world and the feelings of the people around her. To be gracious is to be someone who is humble and desires to praise others rather than deliberately seeking to embarrass them. The act of being a gracious commenter is about making a conscious choice; to embrace a character trait that is to be remembered, respected, and appreciated. By sharing positive voices, online communities might just be a happier place to share ideas, stories and opinions. Let’s work together to open more a optimistic dialogue between public platforms, strengthen healthier online relationships and share our opinions a little more graciously.
Photograph from How I Met Your Style
This post was also featured on Darling Magazine.