How to Respond to Negative Comments on Social Media

June 2, 2023

Death and grief are often newsworthy events that make their way onto social media where faceless strangers and online critics can post hurtful comments. Do these 3 things instead of responding to trolls.

If there is one thing everyone has in 2022, it’s an opinion. 


The advent of social media changed the way we engage and socialize. In many ways, it brought people together and raised our spirits. No longer did you have to send snail mail or run up a pricy phone bill to talk to a long-distance friend or family member—now, you can see in real-time what they are having for lunch, where they are, and what they’re doing.

Grieving in the days of social media adds a whole new layer to healing that many are not prepared for nor equipped to handle. When your loss or grief makes its way into the news or social media, faceless strangers post comments that can be very hurtful. After Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s untimely passing, so many people had opinions. Complete strangers felt the need to bring up past events that if you were Vanessa Bryant, would feel excruciating to read and revisit. The reality is, people can say what they want on social media because most times, there is no backlash or consequences.


So if you have lost a loved one or are experiencing grief, and the situation has made its way to social media or the news, here are a few things to consider that can help you protect your peace and sanity during an unimaginably painful time.

Responding to Negativity on Social Media: 4 Things to Remember


  1. Don’t respond to online criticism. Especially when tensions are high and you are struggling just to navigate typical day-to-day responsibilities, negative comments from strangers or even people you know can be extremely triggering and cause you to blow up. While it may be tempting to tell someone to stick it where the sun don’t shine, it’s important to avoid responding or stooping to their level. Because no matter how you respond to someone that unkind, reckless, and malicious, the outcome will never be productive. Instead, you’ll just feel more exhausted, more drained, and less able to embark on the healing journey you so desperately need.

  2. Take a breather and contact someone who truly supports you. When we feel attacked, our body goes into a parasympathetic nervous response in an effort to protect us from a real or perceived threat. This can feel like a racing heartbeat, clammy hands, a hived-out neck or chest, stomach issues, and/or an all-out panic attack. You are already grappling with grief—you don’t need to take this on, too. Go take a walk to blow off some steam, perform some deep breathing exercises, nourish yourself with a healthy snack, or get a quick workout in so your body can feel safe again. Then, instead of responding to a faceless critic, lean on someone who loves you for support.

  3. Remember just because it’s posted online does not make it the truth. In a weak moment, reading a hateful comment on the internet from a stranger about your personal situation can take you down a detrimental rabbit hole. You may begin to think that this person’s ignorant opinion is the general consensus. This just simply isn’t true. Don’t let the gossipy minority cloud the majority’s kindness and compassion.

When Social Media isn’t so Social

Grief is hard enough on its own to navigate. If your grief has made its way to social media or the news, and you are inundated with negativity and unsure how to respond, you are not alone. We see you, we know you’re hurting, and want to offer you a safe place to share your story and feel supported in your healing journey. Contact us today to set up a free discovery call and spend some time with us – we’re here for you. 


Sharon Brubaker is a certified Life Coach and credentialed Grief Specialist who, along with her team, teaches women who are grieving how to process their thoughts and emotions. To learn more about navigating grief within the family, listen to the full podcast episode here or download my free e-Book, The Griever’s Guide, which equips you with the tools to live life after grief; because no griever should have to navigate a broken heart on their own. 

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