I’ve written quite a bit about how you have to be careful whose opinions you take seriously. Just because someone has a problem with you, just because they’re criticizing you, it doesn’t mean that feedback is valid or something you should take to heart. This is especially true when it comes to any interactions with strangers online. There are literally people who go around arguing for sport, who derive a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from griefing and trolling others. Some of these recreational stress-causers are well aware they are doing this, but others aren’t. They’re instead addicted to the neurochemicals but may be telling themselves another, more noble story about why they’re doing it.
It’s also important to remember that even in real life, we can set boundaries with others. As I’ve said before, we can’t force people to respect our boundaries. It doesn’t work that way. But we can decide that we don’t want someone in our life who ignores what we ask for and steamrolls over any boundaries we set.
You Need at Least a Couple of People Who Are Willing to Tell You What You Don’t Want to Hear
But like anything in life, there’s a balance. It’s possible to go too far with anything — even generally good advice. And if you go too far with disregarding criticism and paring down your social circle accordingly, it’s possible for well-meaning people to find themselves with only “yes people” in their lives.
While it feels comfortable, it can also be a real shame to end up this way. Because the reality is that you need at least a couple of people in your life who are willing to tell you what you don’t want to hear. People who aren’t just going to validate you and cheer you on if you’re about to do something really ill advised but who will at least urge you gently to check yourself before you wreck yourself (and potentially a lot of innocent bystanders).
Now, does this mean you want hideous people who trample all over you feelings or that you should set your clocks by trolls?
No. Not at all. That’s garbage, too. But there’s a large field here in between, a happy medium where individuals thrive — where they’re not surrounded by generally supportive people who aren’t sycophants.