Love Your Haters

Today I like to talk about something slightly different than usual. I often get asked how I deal with haters or unfair critique. It’s a sensible topic because I struggle with this myself, but I think it is good to talk openly about it.

Love Your Haters


We all know about them. People who hate on you, or the things you do.
A hater can be anyone, someone you know or often someone anonymous.

I’ve always struggled with haters in particular. I grew up trying to be friends with everyone, trying to appeal to everyone with who I am and the work I do.

The older I get, the more I understood that these things are impossible. There will be always someone who is against you, someone who likes to spread negativity for no particular reason.

Unfortunately we often overvalue the words of haters. Even if there are 100 positive comments, that one negative comment will make us feel bad and we read it over and over again.

We humans have this tendency to remember negative criticism much more vividly than praise. Bad information always gets processed more thoroughly than the good. (that’s why the daily news is always full of negative stories)According to research from Roy Baumeister at the Florida State University, he says that our brain needs five positive events to make up for one negative. It’s probably even more than that.

This doesn’t mean we need to collect more praise, but learn how to deal with straight up hate or unfair criticism.

It’s important to understand that the more work you put out there, the more reasons there are to attack you. The more you speak, the more people will disagree with you.

The amount of people you piss off scales gradually with the amount of people you impact. The more you impact, the more will be pissed off. It’s simple.

To avoid haters you would have to stand still and do nothing. And thats not an option.

Over the last couple years I’ve developed my own strategies in dealing with haters & negativity. I learned to understand that the more work I put out, the more I will get in return. Both positive & negative.

Haters are not people who are worse than you, often they are not even bad people, or at least not intentionally.

There are a few things I learned over the last couple years, and it’s important to know that it’s not about standing “above” other peoples behavior. But about understanding why things happen the way they do.

It’s not about you

When someone hates on you or your work, it’s rarely about you. Haters are just directing their own unhappiness onto others. Haters are often the ones who who spread negativity to make themselves feel better.

Hating on others might give you joy in the short term, but rarely works out in the long term. Every time you see someone attacking you for no reason, you have to understand that it’s not about you.

Haters are rarely the ones who accomplish anything. I know this from myself. Every time I’m stuck or unhappy myself, I turn into a “hater”.

Sometimes when I’m frustrated, I feel the troll inside of me who just wants to go to YouTube and post some hate comments on random YouTube videos. Luckily, I can resist the temptation, but I understand the motivation of full-time haters.

Being a hater is easy, doing something constructive is not.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Don’t think twice. If someone spreads negativity, delete and block immediately. I used to enter arguments with people, trying to convince them that I’m not what they think I am.

Seeing an insult right in front of you on Twitter or Email is hard to resist. Blocking it right away only protects yourself from making the mistake to reply and enter arguments. Some people are just toxic, and removing them from your life isn’t about punishing them, but simply to protect yourself.

If I think there is a tiny bit of constructive criticism, I put the email or tweet on the side for at least 12 hours. Get some fresh air, think about it, then reply without the heat of the situation.

I believe there is a good person in everyone of us, the question is just how much energy I have to play someones therapist. I think with kindness you can win over even the most passionate hater.

“There will be haters, there will be doubters, there will be non-believers, and then there will be you proving them wrong.” -Unknown

Love your critics

Never forget, those who hate you the strongest, are often the ones who also push you or your work the most. Those who hate you with a passion will put in a lot of effort telling others about it.

Often your strongest critics are the ones who spread your work with more passion than anyone else. We should thank them!

For me personally, every experience with someone who hates my work pushes me even harder to work more. Every piece of unfair critique makes me want to try harder, work more, run faster.

If someone hates your work, you know you are doing something right. If you’re not pissing someone off, you are probably not trying hard enough.

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Yours truly,

Tobias is the Co-Founder of
Semplice, a new portfolio platform for designers. Also host of the show NTMY — Previously Design Lead at Spotify & Board of Directors AIGA New York.

This article first appeared Tobias’private email list.

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