Let’s face it we all have bad days. Sometimes even bad weeks, months or years. It happens. Somebody says something or does something, or you make a terrible decision that comes back and knocks the heck out of you. If it’s traumatic, it’s hard to recover – no matter what you do.
And when we’re upset, sometimes our first inclination is to strike back. We’re not doormats after all, right? We shouldn’t take it lying down, right? All’s fair in love and war, right? Maybe not so much.
If someone wrongs you, has inflicted unwarranted pain on you, discouraged you, or flat out attacked you – then you have a right to counter-attack. Don’t you? Perhaps. Maybe if you could keep it strictly between you and the offender. But the problem is that in modern life, nothing is private. Even your disagreements with your spouse are likely to end up on Facebook or Twitter. So attacking your attacker with wild abandon may come back to bite you.
Don’t Click that Publish Button Yet
Too many people allow themselves to be swept away by their emotional response to a slight, insult, bad review, criticism, etc. Since everybody in the world has a blog, the first impulse is to write a scathing blog post about this terrible thing that has happened to you. But wait. Do you really want your mother to see that? How about a future prospect? Thousands of strangers? Your boss? Your clients, customers or readers? How will they respond? Chances are, not very well.
Sure, go ahead and write that post but don’t publish it. Let it sit there. Read it two weeks from now. Still want to publish it? If so, let it sit another two weeks, go back, and read it again. Chances are you’ll end up deleting it. And be glad you didn’t publish it. While striking back may make you feel better in the heat of the moment, there are a lot of reasons you should reconsider:
- You could be wrong. Maybe you just misunderstood something and lept to conclusions
- Others will be turned off and think you are petty
- You may lose readers, customers, friends or other allies
- You could be perceived as petty, angry and/or arrogant or even a bully
- It could hurt others who don’t deserve it
- It doesn’t change the situation and often makes it worse
The Best Revenge is Success
If you have any kind of online presence or your career puts you in the public eye, you’ll have detractors. It’s simply a fact of life. You can’t get away from it and if you try to attack it, things will only get worse because you chance starting a never-ending battle of being right. Think about it – do you really want to be engaged in the fight forever? So, what can you do?
To quote Vito Corleone:
“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Depending on the type of attack, there are plenty of strategies you can use:
- Ignore it
- Hire a reputation management company
- File a lawsuit
- Provide documentation that demonstrates that accusation is false
In most cases, you don’t have to go as far as the above suggestions; generally, you can just go about your business, stay focused and succeed. People who try to engage you in firefights and online spats aren’t succeeding, which is why they feel the need to attack you. In you, they see a threat. It may only be real in their minds but that is likely what is motivating them. There’s no need for you to play the game. You should feel sorry for them and then move on. If you do, eventually they’ll get bored and move on too.
If you really want to get their goat – prosper and flourish. Succeed. Do you own thing. That’s what counts, right? Your own goals and what you’re trying to achieve? Not some petty words or acts committed by someone you barely know. Believe in yourself and carry on. Believe me, there’s nothing that drives naysayers crazier than that.
If you have to rant – do so in front of your dog or another non-English speaking creatures that don’t have access to a computer. You’ll feel better and nobody will be any the wiser.
What do you think about ranting and bashing on the Internet? Do you do it? Do you like it? Hate it? How do you handle such situations?