I get to about this time every year … and declare email bankruptcy.
Yet before I do there are a few ‘special’ emails that I collect throughout the year that deserve a special reply:
My hate mail.
Yes, I may have a bestseller or two, but it sure ain’t all exclamation points and semicolons here at Barefoot.
So let’s kick things off with the winner of my angriest email of 2019, kindly sent in by a bloke called Rodney.
(If you’ve ever dealt with someone mean, my answer may help you a lot.)
Take it away, Rocket Rod!
Subject line: You’re a Leech, Barefoot
I do not know how you can claim that the financial spin you spew out is all yours. I learnt the same processes as a kid, and I am in my 60s. You do not own common sense. Perhaps you spend too much time conning the education system into paying you. I wager these kids will not even know how to fill out a cheque, let alone stamp and write an envelope. (And by the way, we were taught these things in state school in about Grade 4.) Also, I’m not impressed by you and your feeding on those in hard times — I think people who do that are called ‘leeches’. Have a great day.
Yes, that’s an email I received, and he really did end it with ‘Have a great day’.
Now, given Rod has made some assumptions about me, it’s only fair I make a few assumptions about him:
I reckon Rodney wakes up in the morning, turns on the wireless (hello, Alan Jones), and starts to get angry.
He yells at the radio. He barks at the cat. And he types angry (two-fingered) emails to me.
Now, at some stage you’ve probably had a Rodney in your life: maybe it was a jealous co-worker, or a bitchy friend-of-a-friend talking trash behind your back, or even a troll on social media.
The problem is that all this stuff can rob you of your self-confidence. And that can lead you to stay in jobs you don’t like or relationships you have outgrown, and it wastes the precious time you’ve got on the planet.
Years of dealing with haters has taught me that the best thing you can do is to delete them and move on with your life, and never give them another thought.
That’s the grown up thing to do.
Yet if you really want to mess with them, here’s how I do it, in three simple steps:
Step one: Call them up (that’ll completely freak them out).
Step two: Say, “I just want to be honest and let you know that your comments really upset me. What made you choose to behave like that?” (You’re being honest, vulnerable, and making them justify their behaviour.)
Step three: Stay completely silent … lean into the dead air if need be … and let them fill it with their ramblings.
I’ve done this with trolls in the past, and it always plays out the same way: it becomes clear they hadn’t thought too deeply about me. I’m just caught in the crossfire of their deep-seated issues and insecurities. By the end of the call you end up pitying them.
Bottom line: Rodney doesn’t hate me nearly as much as he hates himself.
And that’s how I deal with haters — well, other than devoting an entire column to them …
Tread Your Own Path!