The Art of Ignoring: How to Escape What Doesn’t Matter

My latest Pajamas Media column is called, The Art of Ignoring: How to Escape What Doesn’t Matter. Here’s an excerpt from the column.

How would you like to save time, prevent pointless arguments, and become a much better communicator? What if I told you it was surprisingly easy to do this and that, even better, you don’t need to learn any comebacks, put downs, or clever sayings? What if, all you had to do to master this extraordinary new communications skill was — drumroll please — learn how to ignore comments.

Yes, really.

Of course, it may sound counter-intuitive or perhaps even a little submissive. You may be thinking, “Geeze, so you’re saying I should let people walk all over me? That’s just not my style, man!”

I used to think like that, too, which was really tough for me when I got on the Internet. Believe it or not, I used to be a little introverted and disliked conflict. So, the vicious, rough and tumble style of commenting that’s the rule of thumb online was not something I easily adapted to at first. I’d get upset when I was insulted. I was one of those people who’d go back and forth with someone 7-8 times in a thread. I’d spend a lot of time responding to dumb comments from anonymous people.

Then, I started blogging and as my traffic grew, more people started responding to what I wrote and emailing me. That was when it occurred to me that it made more sense to write a post for my entire audience to see than to respond in a comment section where only a sliver of the eyeballs reading my blog would catch it. As the numbers picked up, I formulated some general rules for myself to determine when I’d respond to a comment or blog post about me.

1) Was the criticism on point and worth responding because it raised a good point?
2) Was the criticism from someone with a bigger audience than me? Would I be “punching up?”
3) Could I make fun of the person criticizing me and entertain my audience?

Once again, you can read it all here.

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