Sticks and stones may break your bones, but when someone says something mean to you on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, it can hurt nearly just as much. You’ve undoubtedly heard the awful, sad stories about teenagers who have committed suicide after being cyber-bullied by peers and even other adults. For these youth, mean, rude and harsh comments left on their social media profiles left them unable to control their emotions — and were likely a result of another person unable to control their emotions, too. So how can you control your emotions online?
Use the Block Feature
If you’re being harassed by other people on a social network, whether they are friends, followers, or “trolls” who just won’t leave you alone, the most popular advice for dealing with people who make you mad, angry or sad is to use the block feature provided on most social networks. On Facebook, the feature is available on a user’s profile page. This means you will need to navigate to the profile page of the user you want to block to prevent them from commenting on your posts or engaging with your content in the future, but it is well worth the effort if they are truly causing chaos in your online life. Additionally, Google+ users can block other users the same way, by navigating to an offensive user’s profile and clicking on the option to block them underneath their profile information in the left column.
Many LockerGnome community members agree that blocking a user is the best way to control your emotions when someone else can’t control theirs and is harassing you. Kevin Mahon says, “All hail the Block feature!” Facebook user Rick Remixx advises to “delete and block those trolls,” referencing social media users who constantly harass you on networks that don’t require reciprocal friendship. (But should not be confused with the cute, collectible dolls circa the early 1990s.) Of course, if you do want to get a little angry yourself, you can use this option and do what Mary Irene does: say “F@#! You and delete them.”
Report Offensive Content
If you’re finding that comments, replies, or even content on social networks are making you mad, angry, or hurt your feelings because the content is offensive, be sure that you not only block the user from contacting you in the future, but that you also report to the social network is posting inappropriate content. You may not realize it, but that content could be offensive to others as well. On Facebook, the option to both block and report content is available from a drop down list when you hover over the offensive post and click on the arrow. On Twitter, you may want to consider making your account protected if you are concerned about who can see and reply to your tweets. And on Google+, you can easily report content as abusive or flag comments as inappropriate.
Like blocking users, LockerGnome community members encourage those who are angered by offensive content to use this option to prevent themselves from getting angry and thereby encouraging the offensive behavior. Zahari Dimitrov is a proponent of this, suggesting to simply use the report and block buttons to control emotions online. Judith Kavanaugh explains this feature is “why I love virtual relationships. Block button. No need for assertiveness training.”
Ignore it and Walk Away
If blocking your friend, follower, or fan feels too drastic, consider instead taking a deep breath and walk away from your computer to let your emotions subside. You’ll likely realize after this point that the rude or mean comment was likely petty or deserving of an offline conversation about a much larger problem than can be dealt with via a Facebook or Twitter conversation.
LockerGnome reader Amanda Kat Shaw suggests that to control your own emotions, “stand up… walk away and do something different for a while. If I knew the individual in person I’d go to them and ask what it was about.” Others, like Henri Loitiere agree: “Yes. I step away from Facebook and keep my anger in.” Sometimes, ignoring certain topics altogether is best, such as suggested by Linda Potts Sinclair, who says to “ignore talk about religion, race, sexual orientation, and politics,” explaining “you finally get to an age where you don’t want confrontations.”
Redirect Your Emotions
Of course, keeping your emotions to yourself is not always the best way to control your emotions; bottling your anger up can often result in misdirecting your feelings towards someone else, or causing you to hurt another person or object as a result of your pent up negative energy. LockerGnome reader Anthony Cole is on the right track with his suggestion to “play some Angry Birds! Smash some blocks!” Going for a run or hitting the gym can be a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind, alleviating your anger without losing control of your emotions in the process.
These are just a few ways to control your emotions online. Have you ever been hurt or angry from what someone said to you online? How did you control your emotions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Image via BeyondHollywood.