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Never Wrestle With Pigs: How to Deal With Bullies and Trolls

When I first started this personal development community several years ago, I never thought it would gain the momentum it has. Now that there are tens of thousands of participants; dealing with trolls has become a regular thing.

Don't Let a Few Negatives Ruin the Positives

In the beginning, when someone would say something negative, I would sometimes stew on that for days. That single degrading comment could make me forget all of the positive feedback I had received.

Then I realized something.

I was letting the handful of negative people that I encounter interfere with my ability to stay positive for the 99% of people in our community who were there to grow. Just like bullies, these people were largely trolls, just out to see if they could provoke a reaction.

By reacting, I was playing into their game.

Not only was I playing into their game, I was letting them win.

You Can't Win Everyone Over

Today, I don't worry about winning everyone over; I simply hit “block” and go on my merry way. That negative stuff is not worth my time or energy, and it shouldn't be worth yours either.

There's a saying that I've come to appreciate more and more as I've gotten older. It's “What's the sense of wrestling with a pig? You both just get muddy, but the pig likes it.”

What's the sense of wrestling with a pig? You both just get muddy, but the pig likes it. - Photo of muddy pigs.
Don't wrestle with pigs. You'll both get muddy, and they like it.
Image by Beatrice Hohl from Pixabay

Constructive Feedback or Negative Person?

Next time someone says something negative to you, consider if they are genuinely trying to give you some constructive feedback or if they are just a negative person. Many times you'll find that they are merely trying to get you to take the bait to liven up their miserable existence.

Hurting people hurt people, don't take it personally; it's probably just a phase they are going through. Guard your energy against these types of people. You can try to give them a hand up, but don't let them pull you down in the mud with them.

When You Can't Hit Block

It's easy online to hit “block” and get rid of that annoying troll, but in real life, it's not always that easy. In that case, try playing this little game from Brooks Gibbs.

Always remember, the only thing you can control is how YOU react. Don't bother trying to wrestle the pigs in your life or let them pull you down into the mud, it isn't worth it.


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Don Smith

Don Smith is the founder of The Personal Growth Channel, a community on a mission to help each other grow in our personal and professional lives. Happily married with five children, he lives in Springfield, Illinois.