The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing With Haters

It’s easy to get anonymous people to hate you – to attract haters. All you have to do is have an opinion. Be creative. Be yourself.

But sometimes it gets worse. I’ve had death threats, legal threats, I’ve lost friends, even family, over things I’ve written. I’ve lost the respect of many I still respect. Articles get written then people hate me even more.

A hater can be anyone. A family member, a friend, a colleague, a teacher, a boss, or some random person you meet on the street or the Internet. People who were friends forever can suddenly be haters. You HAVE to have the tools to deal with it.

It always feels miserable. I am never cavalier about it.

I wanted to like these people in some cases. 20 year friendships. Friends I thought I would have forever. Now… gone.

Most haters are just invisible, anonymous, just trying to get in your head because that’s THEIR particular method of having a human connection.

Example: someone wrote a review of my audio book the other day:

“SIMPLY TERRIBLE… the author should NEVER EVER read his own books again. He has a lazy, mumbling speech that made it difficult to give him credibility right off the bat. He sounded a bit disinterested, like it was a bother to pass along these precious gems on knowledge to us, the poor miserable audience.”

I’m not fishing for compliments. Some people like my audio book, some people don’t. But it reminds me of 7th grade, when we had to take turns reading from a book in a class called Woodshop.

Who would’ve thought that in Woodshop I would learn all the basic skills that allowed me to build businesses and develop meaningful relationships later in life?

Well, not me, and I was right. I learned nothing there.

The only great moment that happened to me in woodshop was when the prettiest girl in school ran up to me and said, “Quick, quick, what psychiatrist talks all the time about sex?” And I said, “Freud” and then she ran away to have a deep conversation with the woodshop teacher twenty years older than her.

I definitely don’t remember what we were reading in the woodshop “book” that day but when it was my turn to speak, Christin Herholz said, “oh no, not HIS voice again.”

So maybe that reviewer is right. Maybe Christin is actually the reviewer! Synchronicity! (Jung).

No matter what we do in life, we get some people who hate us, who make fun of us, who gossip about us, who backstab us, who take money from us or do something to try and ruin our reputation, who threaten us, who tease us, who frighten us.

SO LISTEN TO ME: these are the rules how to deal with haters – the anonymous ones, the ones in your face, the ones at work, the ones you can’t avoid, family, and people you love.

It’s hard to do. Sometimes I can’t do them. But bit by bit I get better at these rules. And when I get better, I can see better results in my life. I hope you will also.


This is a bit of a cliche but it’s true. Behind every Anger is a Fear.

Whoever hates, is also afraid of something. This doesn’t mean you say, “poor baby, he’s just afraid.” But it’s just worth noting.

For instance, in the above review, the reviewer said, “the poor miserable audience”. Maybe her fear is of being poor and miserable and so she hears someone saying that to her no matter who is talking. This is her problem in life right now.

Often people say, “oh, don’t worry, they are just jealous.” Maybe they are. Maybe they aren’t. We can never read their minds.

It’s none of my business why someone thinks something of me.

But something is going on in their lives that is bringing up a fear. And they indulge the fear by having an anger towards you. By projecting their own fear onto you. For a brief moment, you become the monster that has been hiding onside of them.

Anger is just fear indulged.


Most people who hate me I never even think about. But some haters push buttons. Some accidentally know how to get under my skin.

Or not accidentally. Like when a family member hates you and knows EXACTLY what buttons to press (“you never bathe”, etc).

When someone pushes a button, I get angry and maybe even defensive. But it’s NOT because they said something horrible.

It’s because under the fleshy armor of rage, I’m afraid they might be right.

I might not even admit this to myself. They put the knife in, after all, so I can accuse them. But the reality is I might be twisting the knife in even further.

Take the above example again. I pulled it out from 100s I could’ve used. Not because it was particularly mean. But I just realized I then told you a story of what happened to me in seventh grade when a girl made fun of my voice.

So maybe I really am afraid I have some weird sort of voice. I don’t know. It’s just worth noting to myself.

When all you do is “note” something to yourself, it at least separates it out from the non-stop chatter in the head. It lets you identify it and put it in it’s own special cage. This makes it easier to identify and deal with and maybe even learn something about yourself.


If someone attacks you in any way, you might get bad feelings. If it’s a public attack then others might get bad feelings. People will say, “Jane said this about James so he must be an idiot.”

Or it might an office politics attack. Or an attack in a relationship.

The 24 Hour Rule works in almost every case. If you never respond to the initial attack, it goes away in 24 hours. If you respond EVEN ONCE, then reset the clock. It’s another 24 hours as it spreads through the spider web of human interaction.

This is why some battles go on for years. Nobody stops responding. The attack continues until one person dies. And as the Onion states: World Mortality Rate Holds Steady At 100%.

IV) THE 30/30/30 RULE

I had a few posts where I stole the same image of a woman doing yoga poses on a beach. I got some criticism for always using images of a sexy woman. I also got criticism for taking the images and not giving credit.

Then the woman in the images actually wrote me. I told her I was getting this criticism.

She told me her whole beautiful story which I included in my last book. But one thing she said was that for every creative thing you do: 1/3 will love you, 1/3 will hate you, and 1/3 won’t care.

Which means you should do what you love. You should do the best you can. You should try to do the things that will help you improve every day. And when bad comments come, just put them in that 1/3 bucket where it belongs.


I’m always happy when someone disagrees with me. I don’t mind that.

But often people are incapable of expressing disagreement and it comes out in a way that is obnoxious or hateful.

When I can, I delete them. I can put “delete” in quotes. Sometimes its not a blog commenter but someone in real life. I delete them also. I don’t speak to people who are bad for me.

What if it’s a boss or someone you have to speak to? Well, I don’t engage with them. I let them do their thing. I nod hello in the hallways. I don’t kiss anyone’s ass to get them to like me, not even my daughters. Everyone gets their time in the “time out” box. And eventually, they can come out again if they behave.

What if it’s someone screaming at you on the phone? Just do this: “I have to go”. That’s worked against me, particularly when I was younger and wanted to scream more. “Why are you DOING THIS TO ME!?” And it felt very painful.

But it made me behave better next time.


Someone tweeted awhile ago: “James Altucher = #humangarbage”. I don’t know why he tweeted it. I didn’t know who he was. But I got angry for a second. I didn’t follow any of the above commandments.

I looked him up. He works at AOL. I tried to figure out how to get him fired. He made his one tweet but then it gave me maybe 1000 thoughts.

The worst thing you can do to your body is stab it. Anger is an emotional stab at your emotional body. Some religions say you should show compassion to your enemies. I don’t know. This is really hard to do.

The best I can do is recognize that I don’t know this person, and that every additional thought is another way for me to stab myself. Then the infection spreads inside of me, consumes me.

I don’t like to stab myself.


I could’ve contacted the guy and said, “I just need to know: why do you think I am human garbage.”

But this is one of those death bed moments.

People have said, “I am really glad I found out why that random stranger called me human garbage” on their death bed exactly zero times in the history of the universe.

There’s no need to know. And even if you do finally know…it will always turn out there was no good reason.


Let’s say someone does actually have a reason for hating you. And it’s easy to refute. Like they hate you because you are from Rhode Island but actually you are from Canada. You can say, “But I’m from Canada” and they will say, “Ugh, that’s even worse.”

Nobody ever changes their mind. Change is hard. Quitting cigarettes is very hard, almost impossible for many people.

Hating is even more addictive so imagine how hard it is to change someone’s mind. Facts don’t matter. Defending yourself makes it worse (see the 24 Hour Rule).

Even a history of friendship doesn’t matter. You can say, “We’ve been friends for 20 years. Are you really going to let this get in the way of that?”

And the answer is “Yes.” Because they can’t help themselves. Because it’s about some fear they have. Because it’s about some fear you have. And never the twain shall meet.


That’s all you ever really need to know about your haters. They all grunt and drool and look stupid.

If all you do is think of this rule about someone who hates you, then you can ignore all of the other rules.


Hate can’t last forever. Often it turns into a dull simmer. The sun that was so bright at noon, becomes a haze of purples and deep orange by twilight.

This doesn’t mean that you and the hater are now friends. It just means that the wound that was opened will eventually close up, and leave a tiny scar, a reminder but nothing more. Whether it was a betrayal. An ex-partner. An ex-lover. A commenter on a blog.

The key is to practice shortening the time.

You do this with the other nine commandments above. You do this with the daily practice of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health I recommend in my book.

I say “the daily practice” not because I want you to buy my book. Don’t buy it. It’s so easy you don’t need to read anything other than the above paragraph.

Do all this and the hate passes right through you. It’s hard to avoid all the haters. They are in your face sometimes. But you can do these methods.

For some people hate and anger and bitterness and regret last for years. Sometimes the time it takes to heal a wound lasts longer than a lifetime.

This is a waste of a lifetime.That’s ok also. Nobody is requiring you to have a fulfilling life. It’s totally your choice to waste your life.

And since many people will hate you as you stick your head out of the sand again and again (as I hope you do), you will have many opportunities to ruin your life. Enjoy them.

Sometimes (not every time) the more people who hate you, the more it means you are getting out of the comfort zone. You are creating and growing.

But hopefully your woulds heal more and more quickly. I say “your” but I really mean “me”. I hope my wounds every day heal more quickly than the day before. I wrote this post for me.

When a hater takes his or her stab, I try to use the above techniques to maybe learn about myself. And if I can’t learn a lot then maybe I can learn a little.

And if I can’t learn a little, then at least I will try to avoid getting sick.

And if I don’t get sick, then I will try to be thankful. And I move onto the next thing I can do. The next place where I will try to find love, creativity, and fulfillment.

  • Sean Anderson

    Hello James,

    I just want to say thanks. I just got rocked a bit by a hater today and rather than respond, I decided to search for a means of dealing with him. I came upon your article. I’ve been doing some creative projects as of late and have made my work more and more public. And so i’ve had to deal with haters.

    To the point, your article was really helpful. Thank you. Thank you very much! I feel so much better. I will keep this article handy as I continue my work. :-D

    • Gary

      Touche’ Sean. Not only did I find comfort in James’ article, I found comfort in reading what you just said. So thank you to both you and James. Less than a year ago I stepped out of my comfort zone to try & build my new business through social media and got rocked with a hater from my past just recently, who said horrible things about me. It stings and I won’t lie, but I didn’t even respond to it. Just hit “Delete” as James says here.

      • Sean Anderson

        Hey Gary! Well, congratulations on building your new business. I hope you’re still at it! You’re going to love this: When I came here to post to reply to your comment, I realised i have forgotten the hater comment that made me write my first post here in the first place. Heh. Time heals.

        I’m still having to deal with the odd hater, of course, and unfortunately you have to be stung a little by them as you skim through these people’s comments before you can delete them. But at the end of the day I try to remember I have the product that I built and they have only their unhappiness. You have to wonder how sad a person’s life is for them to spend their time spouting worthless and hurtful criticism.

        You mentioned stepping out of your comfort zone. I’m finding lately that entrepreneurs such as ourselves, by our work, heck, sometimes just by our very existence, make haters imagine themselves being forced out of their comfort zone by our efforts. They understand that the hard work we do often brings change. And, since haters often do not do entrepreneurial work themselves, and our work creates change that they may be subject too, this work and possible change frightens them, makes them imagine life outside their comfort zone a place they don’t ever want to be. So, they lash out.

        So, I guess, in a strange way, haters are a bit of a measure of progress. Your work is making some people nervous. They are starting to fear that you may complete it. Whether your work is ultimately for good for for ill, history will decide, but judging by the haters fear of it, your work IS getting done. And that is always worth something as so many ideas we have in life often remain unfinished.

        All the best!

  • Jim Hutchinson

    “The haters have to be HEARD”. This, IMO , is exactly right, and why ignoring them is the worst punishment you can give them.

  • Doom Bubble

    I say this in the most constructive way possible but Dude you’re James Altucher. Who cares if someone is hating you’re probably smarter than most of them anyway.

  • essniti

    I like it.Mind if I copy this? Just asking for permission. Thanks

  • Gilfoile

    I guess if you write, you have to be prepared for people responding negatively, especially if it’s a blog. Too easy to respond anonymously. Maybe it’s why I don’t write blogs. I can see where you would get more than most people. Thanks for the article. It was really helpful to me in coping with those people in my life who must find ignoble things in my character to attack me with.

  • Johaness

    I think you have good points, most of ppl just wanna take attention for themselves and nothing more.
    Attention wore syndrome.

  • ذُو ٱلْقَرْنَيْن

    I hate this article… because it’s true. Nice job, JA.

  • Konstantin Moroz

    You’ve got a nice voice. I listen to your podcasts and your voice and way to talk makes it interesting for me. Relaxed, not trying to impress. It’s like listening to a friend.
    Good luck!

  • missUnderstood, missTreated

    What if the haters are the female race – basically the whole female race, because their fellow woman is pretty, thin, has sex appeal, is a good mom, is humble… and the men can’t resist her… serious about this… not a blessing a curse that haunts me each and every day

  • Anonymous

    James – I am a pastor. I love your blog. That being said, This blog very well might have saved my life today. Thank you.

  • Career Sidekick

    Entertaining, as always. good article.

  • Ty

    Nice, thoughtful post, Bruce. :-)

  • Wil Radio-Host

    Would you be willing to come on my internet radio show to discuss this article for a show on “Dealing With Haters!”

  • Amanda Lim

    Loved this post. Helped me a lot :) Thank you!

  • Anne

    i think the thing that annoys me the most is when the hatred itself is quite unjustified? like what on earth is going on

  • Rowan J

    What a funny and refreshing article. I googled how to deal with …. Just now, as I’m having problems. I’ve been working on my own thing for 15 years and man, do I get haters sometimes who are totally destructive and will act on it. Like kick a candle over in an Iron Age roundhouse I was working in and walk off and leave it, (yes it burnt down), or drive a car a mile over a field til it gets stuck up to its chassis in mud during an event just to detract ever so slightly from the focus, just had another not quite so bad but bad enough one. It warms my heart to know that this is part of the deal! But late in the day to get it, but better late than never as they say. I am super creative, my work pushes a cutting edge, so guess I can’t be doing so bad after all….I do pick myself up and I do keep going. Thank you for making me laugh, when I was feeling like shit prior to reading this.

  • Staci J Byrd-Ruiz

    I like these thoughts and affirmations. Good read.

  • Vanessa de Largie

    I needed this blog-post after the week I’ve had. Thank you James!

  • In my opinion, women haters are the worst—especially to other women. Why can’t all women support each other more? I don’t usually participate in forums or comment on blogs because no matter what I say—there’s always some female that comes along with a “hater” mentality and attitude—I can say “Have a nice day everyone” and BE-ATCH will come along and actually have something negative to say about that. I just sum it up to good ole traditional and destructive female jealousy. What else could it be? If women would just support each other—the world would be a much better place–because we all go through the same problems and trials in life at some point. It’s sad that life is like this—It’s sad that people take their frustrations out on total strangers—but that’s the way it is. I go out of my way to be nice and supportive to all women–but do you think they reciprocate? Most of the time- no way. Good article. ♥

  • Nikki

    James, you are NEVER human garbage!! That was the most authentic and human post and it will help me out! Thanks!!

  • Christine

    Hello James,
    I just came across your article after I got my first Facebook critic from a series of podcasts that I have been doing. They liked the music, but they criticized some small inconsistent misinformation that I did and plus how loud I was. I know that I have mastered the loudness of my podcast. But the person did not know that there are all sorts of misinformation out there.
    Anyway, the one thing that you missed in your article is about Social Media. I know in Facebook you can unfriend someone. But that is true in all Social Media.
    Usually in the past, I would do a knee jerk reaction and complain to them. But in this case, I just liked the post. But if this person response again with another negative one, then I would block them.
    But at this point, I have to learn to accept that there are going to be people on the Internet that do nothing but complain and hate and be anonymous about it.

  • guavareal

    It is DEFINITELY (and POWERFULLY) true that someone who hates anything
    or anyone actually hates him or her self. The reason they experience
    self loathing doesn’t matter because it can be because of a million
    different things (that’s why psychologists get rich talking to you for
    years). There will always be something else to hate yourself for if you
    go down that road. All that is necessary is that a hater realize that
    they are actually just hating him or her self and the realization its
    self is the cure. Self hate is entertained (in a sick way) by many
    people – maybe 40-50% of the human population, and people who don’t do
    it simply don’t understand how it is possible to hate your self…thus
    the term “haters.”
    Peace on earth is possible.

  • guavareal

    It is DEFINITELY (and POWERFULLY) true that someone who hates anything
    or anyone actually hates him or her self. The reason they experience
    self loathing doesn’t matter because it can be because of a million
    different things (that’s why psychologists get rich talking to you for
    years). There will always be something else to hate yourself for if you
    go down that road. All that is necessary is that a hater realize that
    they are actually just hating him or her self and the realization its
    self is the cure. Self hate is entertained (in a sick way) by many
    people – maybe 40-50% of the human population, and people who don’t do
    it simply don’t understand how it is possible to hate your self…thus
    the term “haters.”
    Peace on earth is possible.

  • I think haters are arrogant people with a big egos to go with it. If you’re different from them, they hate you. They work in groups of two or more to attack you. I just let them say mean things. They instigate others to hate you.

  • Deborah L. Kunesh

    Great post! Thank you so much. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to help others by learning from your own struggles and in turn, allowing us to learn from your struggles on how to deal with our own.

  • Jj Wilde

    I came across this as someone posted that “I need shooting” in one of my comment cards. It does help reading your not the only one with negative comments. It’s still hard not to take them personally though. Nice post though. I’ll bookmark it for when I next get abuse. Being creative I guess is always gonna put yourself up for criticism.

  • natalija

    Another great article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This is probably the hardest topic in life, “haters spoil the fun in our life”, but learning how to deal with that it makes us stronger. Specially for very emotional and empathic people. Thank you again for your encouragement.

  • Ava Green

    Thank you for this. It really helped me.

  • Hey James, thanks so much for your candid thoughts and advice. I can relate to your experience and I’m glad I came across this post when I did. A handful of haters stopped me from writing for over a month. I just couldn’t bring myself to get back at it… and the funny thing is, you can have amazing and respectable people laud your work, but it’s always the small minority of dissenters that you pay attention to (at least that’s been my experience). Really appreciate you taking the time to write this post.

  • Mary Bartnikowski

    Love this — it gave me a lilt in my step. I’m working on the delete button when a person doesn’t want to like me and chooses to hate me. Yes it’s hard with partners and family. And friends. Your writing helped me to see it in a new way, thank you.

  • Roberta

    Well said! Bruce!

    Well, I’m white, 60, and female and have had a lot of spirit crushing things said to me, as well. Life would be a lot easier if people would relinquish the nasty EGO.
    It’s very ironic you said what I’ve THOUGHT most of my life. Being cursed…geez.
    That hit home. And, I’m still here; not quite sure how, but I am. Wow!

    Feeling this way is a symptom of CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect). Maybe it would help if you looked this up.


    Blessings! to you!