Let the Haters Hate: Lessons From Life in PR

June 13, 2018

Growing up with a twin, I spent a lot of my childhood fighting, arguing and bickering with my sister. And just as any sibling pair would do, I ran to my mom every time my sister said something mean to me (although, it was usually more often the other way around – sorry, sis!) seeking for her to side with me. You know what my mom would say, regardless of who asked, when we wanted her to reprimand the other sister? She’d say, “denore her!” – which means “ignore her” when you can’t pronounce your words as a kid.

Although I’ve grown up and I no longer fight with my twin sister or have trouble saying my D’s, I still hold this golden rule of “denore her” true in just about every aspect of my life. It helped me get through those awkward years of middle school, avoid friend conflicts in high school and navigate relationships in college and beyond. While the specific mantra has evolved over the years from “denore her” to now “let the haters hate,” the meaning is the same and it’s just as applicable as ever to my career in public relations.

In the age of social media and other platforms where people can express their opinions 24/7, companies will sometimes have something unfavorable written about them online or in an article. It could’ve been a reporter’s misunderstanding, a disgruntled ex-employee or even your regular old internet troll, which I’d say is the case nine times out of ten. Whatever was said may be true, it may be something said in passing that was distorted as the information exchanged hands, or it may be completely false. But I’m of the philosophy that none of that matters because there are times when we need to “let the haters hate.”

Why? The answer is simple: reacting to every less than flattering statement about ourselves is a waste of time. Not everyone is going to like us. Instead, we should let the negativity teach us how to be more accepting of others. We don’t need to stoop to their level to get our point across. My girl Michelle said it best, “when they go low, we go high.”

Often times we like to think that the haters are jealous because it’s easier to react and become defensive, but that’s not always the right thing to do. Sometimes companies face criticism from the public and the media that turns out to be founded in truth. Using this criticism can help companies assess how they portray themselves externally. Companies should use the negativity as a moment to improve their public message. Let it motivate you to be better as person, or in a company’s case, use it as a time to reassess and reflect on improving business practices.

For companies in emerging industries, doing something new and shaking things up are just part of pushing the envelope. Your haters might be jealous of your success, or unaccepting of any number of things, but receiving criticism is par for the course in running a successful business, and ultimately, means you’re on people’s radar.

This has been a hard lesson for me to convey to my clients at times. I’m a people pleaser at heart and of course I want my clients to be well-liked by the public and media. However, at some point, it becomes useless to waste your energy and time trying to change someone’s opinion, that in the end, they are entitled to have.

So, I’ll leave you with this: the next time you hear something negative said about yourself or your clients, consider letting ‘em hate. You’ll walk away feeling more accepting of others’ opinions, you’ll be able to use the criticism to evaluate your external message and how people perceive you, but best of all, you’ll channel a more positive attitude and image in the process.

– Aubrey

P.S. Stay tuned for the second part in this blog post series on when to engage and correct inaccuracies when the haters are wrong. More to come soon…

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