The Sixteen Stages of Reading Something Mean Someone Wrote About You In Response To Something You Wrote Online -The Toast

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1. Disbelief: Wait, what did I write that these people are mocking me for? Did I actually say that? Was I possibly edited in a weird way? Or am I actually an idiot?

2. Bargaining: Was there a way that I could have written that thing I wrote that would have made me immune to ridicule? Why didn’t I think to write it that way? Maybe I can contact my editor and ask to have it changed?

3. Defensiveness: What do these people have against me?

4. Passive-aggressiveness: Can I say something witty and cutting, or perhaps ironic and humble, thereby shutting them down?

5. Commiseration-seeking: Maybe I can complain about this on a more sympathetic social networking platform and get my friends to say nice things about me.

6. Realism: No. That’s pathetic. It’s best just to move on and work through it.

7. Self-hatred: I can’t believe I read the comments. Never read the comments! I’m such an idiot.

8. Anger-sadness: What’s wrong with people anyway? Why are they so rude?

9. More self-hatred: Why do I even care? What’s wrong with me?

10. Bargaining: How long will it take until I don’t think about this anymore? What do I need to do?

11. Self-hatred, part III: Seriously, why did I even read the comments? Idiot! You know better.

12. White-hot anger: You know what? They’re the losers, anyway. They’re the ones hanging out on a comments thread, just tearing people down. Haters.

13. Self-righteousness: If you think about it, I kind of kick ass for putting myself out there. Yeah, that’s it.

14. Realism: Oh, well. In about ten minutes I’ll forget about this.

15. Showering: Showering.

16. Nirvana: Forgetting.

Claire Zulkey lives in Chicago and runs where you can learn everything you need to know and more.

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