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  • Writer's pictureMegan DiMaria

Lifehack: Tips to deal with annoying social-media trolls

Remember when trolls were only exotic characters in fairy tales? These days they've emerged from the dark woods and secret caves, and they roam the virtual world of social media. Unfortunately.

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm extremely averse to conflict. I'm also that person James described, Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19

Anyone can say almost anything to me, and I don't respond—until the next day. And then, my words are carefully planned and not confrontational. Well, that's if someone says something to me in person, by text, or by email.

If someone trolls me on social media, the rules are different. Yes, I have rules:

  1. Don't respond. People who vomit their POV on your page aren't interested in a thoughtful, reasonable discussion. They want to pop in and blow up on your post.

  2. Take a screenshot of the discussion and file it away. You never know when you might need to reference what was said if the troll pops up again.

  3. Delete their comment.

  4. Unfollow them. (When you unfollow someone, you don't see what they post on social media.) Perhaps it was a one-time event and they'll be more sociable in the future if they comment on one of your posts.

  5. Unfriend them or block them if they show up again with the sole purpose of being confrontational and disagreeable.

  6. Report the troll to the online platform if their behavior is egregious or hints at violence.

I've had an individual call me out over not thinking the way she does, which (for her) is obviously the correct school of thought. Right. She's entitled to her opinion, AND I'm entitled to mine. The first time she showed up on my homepage, I ignored her and unfollowed her.

Guess what? Last week she showed up again. Now understand, I've never met this person, never had a conversation, and never joined in a discussion on her page. She has never commented on any other posts, never liked a post, and never engaged unless she felt the need to "correct" me.

Apparently, I triggered her. Wondering what the trigger was? It was a photo of a 20-week-old unborn child. This one:

I think it's beautiful. A tiny human. Perfect.

There's a huge irony to our encounter this week. But I'll get to that. First, let me tell you what she had to say:

"At twenty weeks women are having abortions because their child has major medical issues like no lung development or missing brains. Remember that when you share this you stab hundreds of mothers in the chest who had to make that gut wrenching decision to induce miscarriage so they didn't have to risk their lives in labor after spending another ten plus weeks with people cooing over their baby bump while they bravely continue on at work and raising their other children. Who they also considered when ending the pregnancy before their other children got attached to the sibling that would never breath or would have suffered."

Interesting aside here, trolls are known for their poor grammar and spelling errors. Perhaps that's due to their blind passion to correct others.

The irony is that she's describing my situation 30+ years ago. At 21 weeks, I was told my child was severely deformed and was advised to have an abortion. That same day, I sat and hugged my baby bump, and I vowed to carry her to term. My doctor told me I might not need an abortion because the deformity was so severe I might have a spontaneous abortion, AKA a miscarriage. Still, I couldn't imagine putting my baby through the torture of an abortion. If you don't know about that, it's medieval in its barbarity. Do a search and find out for yourself.

No matter what, I would aim to give birth. If my child was to live for only minutes or hours, I decided that she would die peacefully in my arms with her father at our side. I would remember her face and the weight of her body in my arms. I would spend those moments loving my child and praying for peace.

As it turned out (thank God!!) my doctor had misread the lab report. I only had to deal with that situation for an afternoon, but it is burned into my memory.

I have deep sympathy for women and men who have made the decision to abort their babies. I've known about their grief from talking with them or listening to their stories. I know it happens, but none of the folks who've told me about their experience have celebrated that decision.

I hate to admit it, but my encounter with that troll shook me. It brought back a sad memory. My revenge? Advising my friends on how to deal with trolls and severing my online connections with that particular troll.

God bless, friends. See you next week.


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