As a teenager there are enough problems you face. You’ve got teachers who load you up with tons of homework and hardly any explanation. You’ve got coaches who expect you to be a star athlete while you’re just trying to not pass out. You’ve got pimples coming out of nowhere, friendships you’re trying to keep, and a busy schedule that doesn’t involve near enough sleep or down time.
Even with all of this going on (and more) there’s something else that you’ll face at some point as a teen: the haters. That’s right. As wonderful and amazing as you and your momma know you are, there will be some people who don’t like you and let you know it.
How you handle your haters makes a huge difference for what kind of person you are and will be. And since I’ve seen it handled incredibly well a few times and pretty poorly a lot of times, I thought I’d give some pointers I’ve gathered over the years on the wisest way to handle your haters. In fact, these principles work not only for teens, but for adults too!
1. Respond on your terms, not theirs.
They may have started the fight, but you can choose where it goes. You and I have no control over how others act but we have all kinds of control over how we will react.
Realize that you don’t always have to respond to someone’s attack or mean words. In fact, sometimes no response is your best response! It’s not weakness (as some usually see it); it’s strength. It takes far more strength to let a mean tweet go by without subtweeting. It takes far more strength to shrug off a negative word someone says about you than to fire back with one towards them.
2. Involve the right people at the right times.
You’re not in this thing alone! There are people who care about you and want to help you when they can. So be smart and let them.
If you’re being bullied, tell someone. If someone’s trying to bring you down, why don’t you bring that up with someone in your life with enough authority and wisdom to do something about it. That means we’re not talking about complaining to your friends about so-and-so. That usually won’t get you anywhere. But you’re wise when you tell your parents, a teacher, a pastor, or someone else you highly respect about your haters because they can often help you in ways you really need.
3. Go towards growth rather than revenge.
Now I like a good revenge movie just like the next person – in fact, maybe more. There’s nothing quite like that moment when you watch the bad guy get it and you think, “Ha! Serves you right!”
We’d love for more of those moments in our lives, with our haters, but that may not be what’s best. Actually most times, it would be better if we just focused on ourselves in these moments and what we could learn. Why does this person bother me so much? Why do their words hurt like this? Why do I think they’re saying this? Is there something I could learn through this situation? What do I need to do to make sure I don’t mirror what this person is doing?
Choose to concentrate on growing you rather than getting back at them. You’ll be better for it.
4. Keep a short list.
It’s rather simple. In life, as much as you’ll have a large list of people who like you and who you get along with nicely, there will also be a list of people on the other side. The key is to making sure you keep a short list of people you dislike, are angry towards, or are still bitter against.
In the long run, every person that you keep on that list is hurting you not them. You. So let your haters fade into the background noise and move along.
I wish everyone got along well with you, but we don’t live in a perfect world. And if we each will have to deal with people who tend to be haters, we might as well deal with them in the right way. You never know, your wise way of handling the haters may just turn them into your fans before you even know it!