Self, self improvement

Concern Trolling

Concern trolls. Real life concern trolls. We’ve all probably experienced them, whether from our parents or friends. On the internet these people join some group and pretend to be assimilated but raise issues in such a way that they seem to be concerned but really they are trying to create a cognitive dissonance or disrupt the groups cohesion, often for fun, sometimes just as a way of drawing attention to themselves. Sometimes concern trolls even slip in misinformation and attempt the group to either go in some other direction or fail altogether.

However, when we meet one in life, it is something different, something much more insidious. I’ll admit it, I’ve done it before, I might have had some good reasons to concern troll, but doing so is the worst way to get some one to change something for the better… It can be deceitful, and overall it is just a negative situation. The victim is trying to do something trying to be successful, here the concern troll comes saying, “Well, I don’t know, I mean I think that you should do this other thing instead… I’m just concerned you’re not doing this right and that you are going to get  hurt.”

Whatever the ultimate reason, it doesn’t really matter–message received, they clearly can’t tell us why (unless they make something up). Once we realize that they have not provided us with a clear reason or made something up with the intention of us NOT fully executing upon what we intended to do, we can address the concern troll.

I like to address them, not by calling them out, but by acknowledging that I understand they are concerned first. Next, depending on how long it took to get to this point, I would either say something like “I will take that under consideration,” if the conversation was relatively short. If it strung on, I would let the concern troll know that I’ve heard what they have said and that I will look into it soon at a more opportune time. And I will, because who knows, maybe they weren’t concern trolling. If they are wrong, just leave it at that, hopefully they will not bug you again on the subject. There is no point in arguing or spending anymore time on the subject with them, because it might just be the exact response they want from you. I very much dislike being in situations with someone who likes to get you angry and arguing with them; the best way to avoid that situation is to recognize it for what it is and move on.

Don’t fall prey to people who concern troll you. When you set out to do something, don’t let some one who is concern trolling you stop you, if anything, acknowledge it and see if there is any merit to what they are saying (if they are saying anything at all), don’t waste time falling into the concern toll’s trap.

If you have an interesting story about a concern troll you’ve encountered, please share it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it and how you dealt with it.

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3 thoughts on “Concern Trolling

  1. j.miller says:

    The only thing that’s worse than a concern troll, is a fucking moronic concern troll and something like thirty percent of the people at my job seem to be this type of person. They inject their opinion of how something will not work at all. Give you advice on how they’d do it (which is always really, really bad ideas.) Then when you do get it done, they are completely surprised that despite your little retarded ass you were able to do it, and immediately begin telling you how they would have done it better, but their ideas are as worthless as dog shit in the sun. And 100 percent of the 30 percent of the people who are fucking moronic concern trolls go right back to their desk/office/jerkoffcubby/mom’svagina and do absolutely nothing but cost the company valuable payroll assets. I really wish it was legal to just bonk them on the head with a hammer everytime they tried to talk. Cuz that would be awesome.

    sorry, Farrin. Your article made me rant.

    • Don’t be sorry, you are spot on. It can be very unnerving dealing with people like that. I like to address it either by getting specific (“well, why won’t doing X, Y, and Z solve this problem”) or more recently, taking a scene out of American Psycho where numerous times Bale’s character interjects “Excuse me, I have to go return some videotapes.” But since you are at the office just say something about going to the bathroom. If they are still hanging around, I’d say, “Don’t you have work to do?!”
      Trolls thrive on what you give them, stop feeding them and they’ll learn trolling you is fruitless.

  2. Closely related to “Mr. Know-It-All” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”.
    Cousin to the Emotion Ninja — “Act Like you care, and then when they let their guard down … strike!”
    Certain kinds of training can assholize a person into this: military break’em down , religious resentments, and severe projected inferiority complex/self hatred. Some of it is just weaker personalities imitating dominant ones instinctively: law enforcement agencies and other cultic setups are full of these homo imitatus types, doing to others what has been overwhelmingly done to them.
    Beware the psychotically competitive type, though. They will actively sabotage your work and your reputation because they are compelled to climb over your carcass to some imaginary golden apple hanging high on the magic tree limb of social acceptance and “being in, being with the cool kids, being seen as a success over others”. They are especially dangerous because a lot of sports culture, corporate culture and even small office culture degrades into cutthroat hierarchies, especially when ex-jock “consultants” are brought in to shake things up when profits flatten out.
    Competition turned sabotage is basically a TV movie trope cliche by now — but for a reason: it really happens all the time in real life.
    Someone who is actually concerned will usually relate a similar experience that happened to them or someone you both know. Trolls make up stuff from whole cloth or twist it to make their point.

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