How to Deal with Haters

Is there a way to inspire less hatred in others, or is it simply something we have to live with?


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 Deal with 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 Deal with 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.

How to Deal with Haters

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?

Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 146 Comments

  1. Avatar of Rose Marry

    Haters are going to hate n matter what, there is nothing in this world you can do to change that. Remember that & forgive them, when you saw them, 🙂

  2. Avatar of Rosemarie Gibbs

    Rosemarie Gibbs

    This info is very valuable. It is a really good expression of how to handle the hate and hopefully bring relief to the hurt that seems to be increasing daily. Thanks for this! This made me realized that no matter what we did, there would people in this world who would seethe on the inside. It’s just a matter of maturity, accept criticism in a positive way.

  3. Avatar of Kathy Gregory

    Kathy Gregory

    The best thing to do with haters is to ignore them. Too difficult to convert to action but its the thing needs to do. If you take their words, you’ll surely be affected. This article can help us a lot. Big help!

    • Avatar of Mona Conner

      Mona Conner

      I so needed this today! I’ve been battling a couple of these people in my life right now and this article really helps me a lot and I am trying to figure out where to go with it. Thanks a lot!

  4. Avatar of Gloria Castillo

    Gloria Castillo

    This article helps me think that negative people will make you grow. Haters will really hate you but you need to find a way to get better and grow beyond their criticism. Thanks, Hillary! <3

  5. Avatar of LINA


    There’s this person who I treated like a true friend, and all of the sudden that person posts about something that made me unhappy. I wanted to know what went wrong; I decided to ask that person directly, then that person suddenly talks about how many people hated me and why I changed. I was dumbfounded and confused about why this happened. I thought maybe that person is just jealous or something, and this article helped me a lot!”

  6. Avatar of Darlene Bridges

    Darlene Bridges

    The hater may try to provoke you into a unwise or emotional scenes in order to make you look foolish. If you feel you’re going to lose your cool, walk out of the room and take deep breathes. Don’t bite back.

  7. Avatar of Caroline Pigat

    Deal with it. After you’ve done your best to simply brush the hate aside, the painful truth is that you’ll probably still find yourself bothered by the comments. It’s not going to make the hate less painful, but it will help you move forward. An d that’s the important thing- move forward.

  8. Avatar of Bernice Hodges

    Bernice Hodges

    Simply try your best not to see the hate. As much as you can just turn a blind eye to the hate that you know will be there when you do something creative or controversial.

  9. Avatar of Freda Dawson

    Freda Dawson

    We all want to act immune to this, it’s cool to pretend that it doesn’t affect us, that we’re all bulletproof and have some kind of armor against it. This might be helpful for some but personally, I think if you don’t deal with it the proper way, it can have a major impact on your ability to do work that matters in the world.

    • Avatar of Miriam Love

      Miriam Love

      Know when to confront a hater.

  10. Avatar of Dixie Hawall

    Dixie Hawall

    Haters are going to hate no matter what, there is nothing in this world you can do to change that, the best way you can deal with it, is to love your life to the best of your ability. Remember that hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. Forgive them and when you see them, smile.

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