#HilaryRowland

How to Overcome Haters

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Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that, if you stand out in some way, having haters is inevitable. There are people out there who approach others with love and benefit of the doubt, and there are people out there who snap to judge, like to put people in boxes, and have very little empathy. That’s just how the world is. If you don’t fit in, there are people out there who will notice and decide they hate you without even giving you a chance — without even having met you.

Years ago, a slimy online tabloid wrote some stuff about me that wasn’t based on reality. In fact, the three writers were all based in San Francisco and had never met me, nor had they talked to any of my friends. They still found me fair game to write about, and since they didn’t know me from Adam, and didn’t have any actual context, they made stuff up, including supposed encounters, which I know for a fact I never had. For example, they said that I was at a cocktail party and kept talking about my career, starting from the beginning each time someone new came into the group I was fictitiously talking to.

Now, if they’d ever met me or talked to any of my friends, they’d know that what they wrote is pretty much the opposite of my actual character. In fact, one of my least favorite things is talking about myself or my career. I’ve never been one to volunteer info about my career and, when asked, my stock answer is “I have some internet companies”. Their unwarranted tabloid posts did hurt, don’t get me wrong. But then I got some great advice (from the best advice giver of all, Mr. Richard Branson). He said that the best way to deal with these haters is to ignore them. He said I shouldn’t give them power over me, and I shouldn’t give credence by responding. I took his advice and felt much better.

How to Overcome Haters

The unfortunate thing I’ve found is that the more you prove haters wrong in hating you (by just generally being a good, kind person), the more entrenched they get in their hatred. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but it has something to do with the way these people’s brain works. Basically, they don’t want to admit to themselves that their initial assessment was wrong, so they fabricate reasons to hate you that aren’t at all based on reality. There have been some really fascinating studies done on this.

The trick is to, as much as possible, find the positive in every bad situation. What’s the silver lining? There’s always some lesson or upside, if you look hard enough. Then, focus on it. As long as you’re focusing on how this situation is helping you grow, the hater can’t touch you. I know, easier said than done, but it’s a worthwhile exercise.

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” – Joseph Conrad

How to Overcome Haters

I was given some sage advice yesterday, which I think might be helpful, but I’m not sure how to avoid doing this. I was told that when I give advice, it can be off-putting. Let me explain: I come from a family of activists. I’m an activist through-and-through, in my blood. This is because I am an empathetic person. Overflowing with empathy, in fact. To the point where it hurts me sometimes. It started when I was little, and I picked up worms off the sidewalk as I walked to school. I gave my allowance money to charities that help animals, instead of buying candy or clothing. I cried each and every time I saw an animal get hurt in a movie (ok, ok… I still do…). The bottom line? I instinctively care about the lives of people and animals I’ll never meet.

So, when I am at a friend’s house and I see that they’re using a moisturizer that I know causes cancer, I tell them and suggest alternatives. Not for any reason other than my genuine concern for their health. When we’re at a restaurant and I ask if they’d like to know how foie gras is made, it’s because I think highly of them — I think they’re the type of person what will want to know, and will understand that we all need to do our part to lessen the suffering of innocents — especially those of us who so easily can.

I’m still not sure how to change this aspect of myself, or to make it easier for others to digest. I don’t want to simply not say anything, because I feel like that would mean that I have less integrity with my love and convictions. But at the same time, I don’t want to risk alienating people.

Then again, maybe going through life trying not to alienate people is futile, no matter how hard we try. No matter what, people are going to take things the wrong way sometimes. Haters are gonna hate. And while you can’t fight fire with fire, maybe water isn’t the solution either. Maybe the best way to deal is simply to let it burn and walk away.

How do you deal with haters?

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

14 Comments

  1. Melani Kalev

    Unfortunately, haters can be found eveeerywhere. Strangers who don’t like you without knowing you, friends who love you but are still jealous because you’re doing better than them, etc. With friends, you just gotta find out who’s worth the trouble and who’s not. With strangers, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, and if you do know (like the article written by those three in SF)…it reminds me a quote from the movie “Lost in Translation”: ‘The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.’ What people say and do (about you) says a lot more about them, and a lot less about you.

  2. Christine Muchoe

    I love the last 2 sentences. I care a lot about what people think so it’s hard for me to just “let it burn” but I think that’s great advice. If someone has decided they hate you, nothing you say is going to change that, it’s just going to make them hate you more. Better to do you and not let the opinions of others get to you.

  3. These are useful advice you’ve given, Hilary. I don’t know if I have a lot of haters, since I don’t consider myself “popular” but at work you will find people who will hate everything about you. And you don’t even know why. They dismiss your ideas and think that you’re getting where you are because you “bribe” or kiss your way up.I just ignore them and when they confront me, I answer them as politely and objectively as possible.

  4. This is really, really great advice. I’ve had to deal with haters pretending to be my friends and then (out of the blue!) being cruel to me — ever since I was a kid. It’s always hard, but this article really makes me feel better. I didn’t realize the psychology behind it until I read this, but it makes so much sense! I should stop being overly nice, and just be more middle-of-the-road. Thanks!

  5. I came across a quote once

    “Haters are like Crickets.
    They make a lot of noise,
    you can hear them
    but you cant see them
    when you walk right by them,
    they suddenly get quiet”

    There are countless people who would post Hate comments on public forums and social media, against celebrities, but if they happen to see that celeb in real, they’ll go jumping and hopping to get and autograph or to take a picture with the celeb. How shallow!!

    And its not just about famous people. There are haters all around you. They hate you if you are successful, they hate you if you too kind and caring, they hate you if people love you more than the Haters. Its sad but many a times even good friends show hatred behind each others’ backs.

    So all-in-all… If you are sure that you are not doing anything that genuinely deserves to be hated, simply continue to be who you are and do what you do.

  6. Jennifer Roberts

    As a lesbian, I’ve learned that you simply can’t take hateful people seriously. No matter what, there will be people who will dislike you because you remind them of their shortcomings, or because they have some issue that has nothing to do with you. The only way to get through life is to ignore them. They’re not worth your time!

  7. How to overcome haters?! Just accept the fact that you CANNOT PLEASE everybody. In everything you do, someone will always have something to say.

    Critics are part of life. I always believe that haters should be one's motivation to be the best he can be, don't focus on the negative(s), give full attention to the positive(s).

  8. Courtney Watson

    Instead of feeling and getting affected by my haters, I just tend to think that they should be pitied. I think of them as persons who are very discontented with the life they have (or had). They are full of insecurities and they are allowing these insecurities make them “monsters” and live an unhappy life!

  9. My sister has had to deal with this crap her whole life from other women. I don't understand why women are so cruel to each other. Have some compassion! You never know what someone is going through. They could have cancer and you don't know it…their mom could have just died… you don't know — so play nice! :/

  10. Hannah Mayers

    “Don’t mind haters” or “Just think of them as a way to better yourself.” — Easier said than done. These are all the advice I get most of the time. In my search to ease my confusion or to know how to deal with them, I was led to different articles, one of which is this one from Urbanette. This is really enlightening (and relieving). I can conquer them!

  11. Jen Garcia

    Haters… Oh they are everywhere! If you’re successful in career, people will hate you. If you have a wonderful love life, people will hate you. By simply being happy and contented, people will hate you.

    I believe haters come from a life full of “discontentment.”

    I used to be affected by my haters, but as I mature, I learn to live by this philosophy: “Never explain yourself to anyone. Because the person who LIKES you DOESN’T NEED IT. And the person who DISLIKES you WON’T BELIEVE IT.”

  12. This is great advice. I think a lot of times people (especially women) sacrifice putting themselves out there in order to be well-liked by as many people as possible. Instead we should try to put ourselves out there and accomplish things. At the end of the day, it would make me happier to have done something that caused a few people to hate me, but that I can be proud of.

  13. Jen Spillane

    The more you put yourself out there, the more you're going to get hit. Personally, I think putting yourself out there is more important than protecting yourself from the hits that might come as a result. When I think about haters, I remind myself that this is my one life–and theirs (and they are spending precious time hating the work and lives of others instead of creating and living their own!). It's taken me a long time, but I've realized that it's more important to me to be open and be myself than it is to be liked by everyone. I think if you're comfortable with yourself, even the haters will respect you on some level for it, even if they don't particularly care for who that person is.

  14. I've had to deal with haters my whole life. It doesn't help being a model, but I suspect everyone has similar issues. It's always disheartening when people you trust or are close to you or your friends turn on you for no reason. I wish there was a way to prevent it, but until I can figure out how to read minds, I guess I'll just have to do my best to ignore.

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