Ah, the Internet, where innocent people are berated by complete strangers for absolutely no reason at all. What a time to be alive, right?
For those of you lucky enough to have avoided the baseless tirade of the Internet troll, allow me to explain: Trolls are people whose only purpose on the Internet is to start arguments or put down others with “the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response.” To put it simply, trolls are complete assh*les.
Unfortunately, Internet trolling is a constant (and quite frankly, disgusting) reminder that the online world can be a pretty poisonous place. Whether you're sharing your life on social media, blogs, YouTube or anywhere else, you're subject to unwarranted cruelty from the barbarians who make up the underbelly of the online community.
The majority of us have been there: A complete stranger, who knows absolutely nothing about you, is suddenly spewing the most degrading, unnerving comments just to upset you. What type of people stoop to such atrocious levels?
Although the best plan of action is to ignore the hatred being blasted in your direction, it's not exactly easy. Honestly, if you have any shred of a soul, it's going to bother you, at least a little bit. How could it not?
Personally, as I'm a writer (especially a non-professional one, at that), it's incredibly easy for trolls to rip me apart or make ridiculous assumptions about my character based on something I've written. I'll admit it: There have been times when I've felt like surrendering to the jerks who were attempting to tear me down.
But what good would that do? Why raise the white flag to respond to a bunch of faceless cowards, whose main purpose in life is to relentlessly insult others just to feed their own egos? Screw that.
Since most of us will eventually run into Internet trolls at some point in our lives, it's important to remember that they are just that: trolls. Their opinions mean absolutely nothing.
So, how about we take a different approach toward dealing with them? How about we laugh at them? Honestly, trolls are pretty damn entertaining, and you should totally laugh at them. Here are the reasons why:
1. They're really good at telling jokes.
Think about it: They're basically the standup comedians of any online social platform. One of the main motives of a troll is to elicit a response from you by making up something completely ridiculous. That, in and of itself, is pretty funny.
Here's an example: One time, after I wrote a humorous story about my relationship, a troll vehemently declared that the only reason my boyfriend is with a “bottom of the barrel” girlfriend like myself is because he's a complete douchebag, and I'll eventually get kicked to the curb.
Wait. The fact that we're engaged now means you were obviously telling a joke, right? Oh, you funny little troll.
It doesn't matter whether they're insulting your looks or tearing apart your character. The best thing you can do is sit back and laugh at the ignorance. You are definitely not the punchline of their delusional “jokes.” They are.
2. Their “life lessons” are pretty fascinating.
When a troll begins a statement with “Oh, honey” or “Oh, sweetie,” which is then followed by a super deep comment, it definitely makes you think. But by “makes you think,” I don't mean it makes you think about your life and how his or her comment totally applies. It makes you think about how much of a life he or she clearly doesn't have.
If a troll tries to become your personal therapist online, why not play along? Making comments like “OMG, you have completely changed my life” or “It's like an angel is speaking to me through this comments section” is sure to spark some entertaining dialogue.
The troll will get even more pissed off, and you'll be crying with laughter. It's a win-win.
3. Their research is actually quite impressive.
The studious little trolls are the best, aren't they? They Google your name to try to dig up any information they can use to fuel their hate-filled tirades. How the hell did the troll find that picture of me from 2003? Magic? Sorcery? Too much time living in mom's basement?
I'll be honest: I kind of wish I had dealt with Internet trolls in college because I totally would have asked them to write my research papers. The stalker trolls think they've got it all figured out. But in reality, they have no clue how to act like normal human beings on social media.
There is literally only one response to the trolls trying to play detective, and it requires channeling Regina George in "Mean Girls:" “Why are you so obsessed with me?”
Mic drop. Cue the laughter at their expense.
4. Their usernames are the best.
There's something magical (and ironic) about a super degrading comment from an online user called “Boner420.” Isn't there?
Not only do these people try to convince the Internet you're a horrible human being, but they also do so with usernames that seem to have been created by 12-year-olds. If you're receiving "life advice" from someone whose username involves any type of genital organ, sex position or degrading term, it's probably best not to take it seriously. If anything, you should be the one providing life advice.
It doesn't matter what type of troll venom is being spit in your direction: Laughing at it is the key to overcoming it. If you're in a situation where the hateful comments are seemingly endless, this is a helpful way to keep your sanity, all while keeping the trolls' egos in check.
The trolls can only get to you if you let them. Once they realize their efforts are pointless, you'll get the last laugh.