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.