Haters gonna hate
I’m lucky: I get a lot of love from my fans and community. But man, do I also get a lot of haters. 😂
It’s part of the job description, I know, especially today with social media. My DMs are full of random insults, anonymous armchair ‘experts’ eager to tell me how crap my game was, and unfortunately, a fair share of straight-up racist remarks.
For the most part, I don’t even look at my DMs anymore, though my community manager sometimes screenshots the most outrageous comments I get on social and sends them to me in disbelief. (A couple months ago, one guy said that he wasn’t a racist before, but that watching me play made him one. Yeah, that’s the level.) And if you think that’s bad, you should see the kind of stuff my wife Elina gets sent. It’s really shocking.
Of course, there’s a difference between a critic and a hater. Critics, you want: they’re constructive, specific, and not personal. The best ones can even help you improve yourself. Haters are simply there to get under your skin—and unfortunately, they’re a lot more common than critics.
So how do I personally deal with haters?
It depends. Mostly, I try to ignore them. I’m lucky that it’s not much of a challenge for me. My parents taught me very early on that the opinions of people who don’t know you are not opinions worth listening to, so they mostly just roll off my back. I also think that growing up black in the milieu I grew up in, you get used to feeling a little bit singled out, so you naturally learn to tune out judgment.
Sometimes, I like to respond to haters in a really calm, honest way. Like, if someone says, “What a massive loser”, I’ll reply, “Yep, the other guy was much better than me, what an amazing game he played.”And you know what? It seems to totally disarm them to the point they’ll sometimes reply, “Yeah man, good game… better luck next time.” So much more satisfying than getting into some silly online insult war.
At the end of the day, I like to think of it in a positive way: someone who takes the time to hate on you is ultimately still taking time out for you. At some level, you fascinate them. They’re choosing to take minutes out of their precious day to give to you—even if it’s in the form of venom.
It’s true what they say: haters gonna hate, no matter what. You living a life you’re proud of is the ultimate response. 🙂
Until next time,