So I was reading my friend’s blog today and I noticed a few things going on that made me feel a little frustrated for him. There were a few trolls on there that would throw in very childish comments to get a rise out of him and with each insult this friend would shoot back with an intellectual discourse on the reasons for his posting that would sometimes turn into a diatribe and/or vengeful retort. Of course each time this happened the troll would toss out another imbecilic solicitation. My friend took the bait a number of times but this got me thinking about trolls in our lives in general, whether it be in response to a blog, written or spoken conversation or whatever…
The truth is- when we react out of anger, regardless of the fact that we may be absolutely correct about their ignorance and regardless of the pleasure we might feel from slapping the snot out of them, we are sinking to their level and when that happens we lose big time, there is no resolution. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that there is no place for feeling angry, and there are times when we should defend our persons or others ruthlessly, not only that but slapping someone is a powerful form of communication but that all requires the right context and the context I’m referring to is of the general troll/attention seeker.
Usually, if it’s a troll situation in a blog or shared online conversation- I’ll try one of two things. First, I’ll more often than not just ignore them. Why give attention to something that is counter-productive? I certainly don’t want to jump in the muck with them. Sometimes though it is kind of fun to use a humor approach. For instance if someone replies “you are a dick”, perhaps I’ll respond with “yes, and an unfortunate side effect is that I end up spitting all over people that rub me the wrong way” or “how could you tell, was it the shape of my head?” This is the “yes and approach”, it’s useful because once employed the troll often doesn’t know what to do; they aren’t getting the type of response they had hoped for. Lastly, since we don’t want to sink to their level, we can raise them to ours. This approach is useful for in-person encounters. All it takes is a question. “So when you say [insert word/phrase here] what do you mean exactly?” Or “could you say more about that?” Obviously the question depends on the response but the idea is that we are modeling a better example while turning the mirror on them.
Ok, so there’s my little conflict resolution tip for the day….