Dear haters, an apology letter.

Dear haters,

Over the last three years I’ve written a lot about haters. I’ve done this in part because it’s weird to have strangers hate you.

It’s strange that people who have never met you, talked to you, texted with you, skyped with you or had any other personal interaction with you attack you personally. That’s a new thing too. For years, we’ve been able to privately hate people in the comfort of our own homes. But for the first time in the history of mankind, we are able to publicly share our hatred without leaving home or writing a editorial in the newspaper.

Talk radio might have provided some access to this activity, but you only had a 1 in 100 shot of actually getting on the air and they cut you off quickly. Now though, we get to roll around in the mud of our cynicism for as long and as often as we want.

But there’s a problem, one that’s been pointed out to me by a few people.

People who disagree with you are not always haters. Most of the time they are just people who disagree with you.

There’s a massive difference. Just because we have different opinions does not make you a hater. It makes you a person who has a different opinion.

I’ve wrongly labeled people as haters who weren’t and I’ve contributed to one of culture’s biggest mistakes. Right now, our culture offers two options, wildly agree with everything I agree with or be labeled a hater. There’s no “debate and love,” option on the table anymore and that’s a shame.

So today, I apologize. I unfairly judged people who disagreed with me as haters. I regret that.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that only about 10% of the people who criticize me are really haters. And for those folks I will continue to write things like this. (A hater being someone who wants to create a wound not a conversation, who wants to attack an individual as opposed to discussing an idea.)

I’ll do better going forward, but in the meantime, thanks for having an opinion different than mine.

Jon

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Comments

  1. says

    Very astute comments all around. I constantly see comments from folks who, although not quite haters, feel the urgency to bring anyone whose opinion differs in any way into the court of their private opinion and brand the person with the label of the day. Just because someone espouses an opinion does not them them a part of any particular religious, political, spiritual, philosophical or whatever group. This dismissive attitude many posters have toward anyone who disagrees with them is indeed distressing and stifles any meaningful dialogue. Most of them time I butt out, seeing that there is no rational way of addressing the issue. Sad.

  2. says

    Nailed it! I’ve been struggling with this issue and God used you to make things much more clear. You’re humble, thought-provoking, hilarious and making a difference keep writing bro!

  3. says

    It’s interesting that a few years back haters had to be very bold and 1-Either say something awful to someone’s face, or 2- Write a personal letter to them. Oh there were a few things written-especially in politics. But today we can say whatever, whenever, and we can put just our first name to what we write, and as you said -in your case we have never met you. We don’t know folks hearts, motives, or what they’ve been through. We don’t know, but we can cast a big shadow in a very negative way. Jon, you are a very public figure. People can make jabs at anyone who is “up front”. Oh that we could remember how our words can do good or do bad.

    Keep up the good work Jon. I think you’re doing a great job. May we all think about what we write. My Mother taught me to write what I felt in a letter, put the letter in a drawer, and wait 24 hours and told me that if I still felt that way the next day to send it. My own failure? I made a tacky comment about people not knowing what “Regrets Only” means in reference to an invitation. I wrote it on Facebook and felt better. BUT I didn’t think I hit “Post”. Well I thought I didn’t! Yes, it went. Fortunately my wife caught it pretty quick and I took it down. Oops. We all do it, but the 24 hour rule still works as long as you don’t press send!

  4. says

    It takes humility and wisdom to differentiate between those who differ in opinion and those who genuinely are “haters”. I’ve learned that the intentions of their words and actions really define them. Haters have a tendency to want to destroy or degrade what you have built or said because of emotional reasons. It becomes more of an unmerited vendetta. Those who tend to have difference of opinion focus on the discussion, and usually appreciate some aspect of the work that you are doing.

  5. says

    It took a year and half of counseling to figure this one out. Now I don’t think my husband hates me just because he doesn’t agree with me and disagreement can actually bring intimacy between two people. :)

  6. Cherie says

    Having just started following you, I find this “apology letter” very encouraging. If we could all, just step back from ourselves and our beliefs we would find, that we are not always right and that we don’t always make the best decisions. But, this is how we grow and this is how we earn respect, we become better people, maybe a little more open-minded and compassionate. In this world of extremes….I am truly grateful for your since message today!

  7. Deborah (Debbie) says

    Jon…I think you are just WRONG. What a ridiculous thing to write. You must be a horrible person.

    (No, not really…there just might be a bit of wisdom here :) )

  8. Elizabeth Drue says

    I think often times people come across more rudely than they intend or know, and such a lack of courtesy makes it easier than it should perhaps be to label him or her a hater. The nature of typed comments that lack body language and voice inflections don’t help either.

  9. says

    I agree with you John. It made me think of SOMEONE’S words: Tolerance is the last and only virtue of a decadent society.

    Just introduced to your blog recently. Looking forward to learning some new things.

  10. Anonymous says

    Well at least you don’t call people stupid for disagreeing with you like Dave Ramsey did when he called a bitcoin caller and bitcoin investors stupid. We can disagree without calling each other names and without being rude toward each other.

  11. says

    speaking of haters: grammar!

    *an editorial

    post script: I didn’t check the comments if anyone else corrected it already. People love that!

  12. says

    Great post – thanks for writing it, Jon!

    I think it’s super important to draw attention to that distinction. A friend of mine is starting to enter into the world of speaking/blogging/writing, and posts some thoughts on social media that I don’t always agree with. I’m typically one who will express disagreement but certainly avoid personal attack, so I did on a few of those posts. I was taken aback when that friend reached out thinking there had been some offense and wondering why I was being disagreeable (even more surprised when I found out my dissenting but civil comment had been deleted). We talked it out and patched things up, but I think that’s a great example of what you’re pointing out.

    Perhaps for people who have something to say and start using social media and the internet to do it, this is an ever-present danger – thinking that anyone with a different opinion is automatically an enemy. I believe there needs to be room for debate and even civil disagreement. Of course, do note that I say “civil” disagreement. Still no room for haters. But disagreement? Bring it on! I think our ability to disagree yet remain friendly and even close is one of the things that separates us from animals. That and we’re a little bit cleaner.