Empathizing with Trolls
We all know how awful comment sections can be - whether it's an article about women in videogames, or a video about politics, there are people ready to pounce and spread anger and fear. Compassionate communication implies that these people are really just seeking attention.
This can be a tedious process, but the results can sometimes be amazing (I'm kind of addicted to changing the minds of hateful people on my facebook feed.) Just follow these steps, and send me the screenshot of the results.
1. Find an angry person in a comment section (this will be noted by curse words, caps lock, or the invitation for violence to people with differing points of view). "I wish (insert group) would all just shut the f*** up!"
2. Assess the Observation they are making, in hopes of connecting it with the next step:
3. Assess the Feeling they are having based off their observation. "So, you're frustrated by hearing about this group of people's complaints?"
4. Assess the Need that is based on that feeling, and confirm it with them (this step may be the trickiest one. It's not usual that people will admit their weaknesses with strangers online. But, by staying consistent, and even attempting this step, I'll at least give you a portion of the points). "Are you frustrated that their needs are being prioritized above your own in the public discussion?" Also, add some genuine empathy (this can also be very difficult when you fundamentally disagree with the person. Don't attempt to connect with their minds, connect with the feeling they have instead.) "Damn, I've never actually thought of it that way before. It's rough for you too, I get that now."
5. Articulate a request on their behalf. "Would you like for your problems to be the topic of national discussion as well?"
Here's an image that shows the two sides of this style of conversation (although we're only fixated on the listening side for this request).
It's incredibly important to be genuine in these interactions, there's so much ambiguity online. Perseverance will be key for success. Also, I'd gladly give double the points if you express yourself with the person in a compassionate way as well (following the steps described in the above image.)