(https://ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/8.5.2/img/champion/Cassiopeia.png) Time and time again I see posts popping up complaining about toxicity. People rant about how toxic players ruin a game, how they sometimes add you as a friend and insult you with direct messages. People sometimes say they are fine with toxicity, but as soon as the flamer starts wishing death or aweful deseases it is not fine anymore. With this post I am not going to justify toxicity, but I try to suggest how to understand it and how you can better cope with it.
The most important thing is, that people who are toxic are trying to convey an emotion. Maybe they do it intentionally or not, but the intend of the toxic player is to make you feel bad. They try to make you feel worse, so in comparison they are relatively happier than you. For the flamer this is easier to achieve this way instead of becomming happier themselfes. So they are going to insult you and throw shit at you to throw you off.
There is one obstacle though: The internet doesn't convey emotion properly, nor do the people know each other. On the internet, we are all strangers to ourselfes[.](https://youtu.be/755VHYTEROc) We barely know any player we meet online. This is an issue for the flamer, because insults only work if you attack someone _personally_. As for an example, I can't expect you to get offended by something like "asshat" when I don't know how sensible you are. This means, that if an insult doesn't offend you, the flamer has failed. Because of that, flamers will naturally gravitate to more universal and offensive insults, because those will hit more people. For example cancer is at the moment the bane of humanity. It is not curable and even chemo therapy doesn't really work. If someone is diagnosed with cancer, that person plus all his friends and family suffer. Because cancer in itself is so bad, it is a perfect candidate as a swear word and to offend as many people as possible.
But how do you deal with that? The first thing you need to realize is that toxicity is toxic, no matter what words the flamer uses. It doesn't matter if he calls you an "asshat" or wishing cancer, the purpose of these words is the same: They try to offend you. Wishing cancer is more offensive, but in the end it is nothing but a swear word. Most people using it don't genuinely wish cancer, they just want you to make you feel bad. And because "cancer" is so much more offensive than "asshat", it is a more reliable way to push your buttons. So the first step to cope with it is to realize that toxicity is toxic and the use of specific words doesn't matter whatsoever.
The second and most important thing is not to argue and don't confront the flamer with his own words. You don't fight fire with fire. Remember: The purpose of flaming is to make you feel worse than the flamer himself. If you become angry, the flamers has reached his goal. And if the flamer becomes more angry, he may use even worse words, offending not only you but also everyone else. If you argue with a flamer, it's a lose-lose situation and you cannot win. What you want to do is to ignore the flamer. If you can't, mute him. Not only does this help you to not get offended, but because you don't interact with the flamer anymore, he can calm himself down more easily.
If he adds you after the game and attacks you personally, you need to stay calm and don't get offended. Remember: He only wants to make you feel worse. If he wishes death, cancer or calls you an "asshat", it is virtually all the same. Also don't be passive agressive. What you want to do is to be welcomming. Try to understand the flamer and act like a friend. If the flamer adds you, that means he wants to talk to someone. No matter the purpose, but he seeks the attention. Understand him and try to calm him down. Don't insult him and be friendly overall. Eventually he will stop. If for whatever reason he doesn't stop, you can also just block him. Patience is the key, a flamer will not calm down from one minute to the other. If you are not patient or don't want to talk to flamers in general, just unfriend them, block them if they spam the friend request. Ignoring them is the best option, because if you really don't want to talk to them, you only become angrier the more time you spent with them.
That's about it. Realize that all insults have the same purpose no matter which words are used, and don't fight fire with fire. Of course toxicity is bad and in my opinion it should be punished like Riot is doing right now. But a reformed player is better than a banned one.