DEAR HARRIETTE: I am no stranger to social media or the internet, and I often come across "trolls" or internet bullies. When I see people saying mean, negative or hateful words, it makes me feel like I should stand up to them rather than ignore them and let ignorance spread. With this in mind, I know there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to get points across. When I do stand up to haters, some people are receptive to new information, and others will say horrible things back just for the fun of it. How should individuals in this day and age handle situations like these without simply just ignoring them? -- Stop the Trolls
DEAR STOP THE TROLLS: Make your decision on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes the best thing you can do is ignore someone who is spouting negativities. What that person wants the most is attention. If you refuse to take the bait and ignore them, you may be sending a strong enough message. If you feel tempted to respond, you can always block them.
On occasion, if you see something that seems egregious, you can report the person to the social media company for their unacceptable commentary. Lastly, you can write back and tell the person that what he or she is saying is untrue.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)