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Wow, have I experienced every flavor of complaint known to man, in this arena. Difficult members can bring you down, if you fall into the trap. DON'T DO IT. I've found when you receive a complaint or hateful email from someone, never ever answer the email, immediately. Sleep on it. But, don't lose sleep over it - - been there, done that. It's just not worth it. And, getting upset will only make the situation worse.Unfortunately there are a lot of miserable people online - - well, in the World. And a lot of them take out their frustrations and vengeance on their keyboards, therefore spreading their nastiness onto our screens; while they're all cozy and sitting in the privacy and safety of their own little worlds.I've learned that a little bit of kindness returned, instead of adding fuel to the fire, goes a looooooong way. Without getting into Psychology 101, since I'm not a trained Therapist, I've found these steps are successful in most situations:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Consider the source.
  • Consider that this person may have a miserable life, and you may be able to add some light to their life, instead of returning their darkness.
  • Keep it professional, but do show compassion when appropriate.
  • Don't answer Trolls. See definition of Troll, below.
  • Don't take it personal. This is the most important rule, for your success. If you can take a step back, look at the situation from a professional and logical point-of-view, you will almost always succeed.
  • Know how to recognize a Troll.
  • Don't "go off" on people, who are simply in a panic. I've seen this over and over, again. I'll receive a hateful email from a member, who is typically a nice person. Sometimes, and especially when dealing with a person who is passionate about their online "cause", and/or their online business - - people get a little crazy. It's all "in the moment". Most of us are capable of this behavior. I'm certainly guilty of it. Don't accept abuse. But, when time allows - - do try to give them a chance to vent. Interject kindness and understanding. Typically, if you can do this, the situation will have a happy ending.

What is an Online Troll or Baiter?Online trolls are people who love to come into threads and stir up trouble, start arguments and generally make little sense just for the fun of getting people riled up. This is what they do, day in, and day out. It's not much different than the trouble-maker you experienced in School, or the trouble-maker at your office. They've always existed, since the beginning of time. They will always be around us.However, an online Troll is somewhat of a different species, than the local trouble-makers. They live to upset folks, online. They lay awake at night, thinking up their next flurry of fire spreading. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS.I couldn't have written this better, so excerpt below, taken from: the online troll can even be funny - - like that guy at the party who had a few too many and is wearing the lampshade on his head. But just like the frat boy who never grew up, too much of anything is well... too much. A frequent troll can be downright annoying and harder to get rid of than fungus on a pre-teen boy.The close cousin to the forum troll is the baiter. Every forum should come with a sign that reads "Don't feed the trolls" but there would still be some silly person willing to do it anyway. It's like those people who take raw steak to the bears in the state park.Troll feeders love to see the drama unfold on their computer screens but they love hiding behind the mask of "I didn't do it" where they feel secure in their role not as a trouble-maker but simply as someone trying understand the other forum users.~ End of excerpt. ~Good luck when dealing with difficult people. Keep your cool. Take a breath. Be Professional. Interject kindness. It will almost always work out. Do learn how to recognize Trolls, and don't be a Baiter. Remember: this is what they do. More often than not, their actions are planned, in an effort to stir up trouble. This is their standard mode of behavior. Don't fall for it.Best,Jen

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  • This is great advice. I'd add one more point. Your network comes with a little lnk on every single members page that largely tips the balance in your favor when dealing with these people. With one click you can save yourself and probably your members hours of hand-wringing and useless tit-for-tatting. It's called the BAN button.

    Don't be afraid to use it.
  • Awesome discussion! Thanks for sharing your insight on this!!
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