My co-worker and I are friends on social media. She recently posted a joke and a meme about our boss, mentioning his first name and making fun of his appearance. I found it objectionable. Our manager is a hard-working, sweet, and kind man who I think would be very hurt if he saw this. Neither one of us is friends with him on social media, but it’s quite possible some of our shared friends might be, and her post could easily be shared with him if that were the case.
I told her this was a bad idea, and suggested she remove it. I know she could face some sort of consequence for it at work. But she told me it was her page, and she could do what she liked on it. She asserted that she couldn’t be fired for it. I don’t know whether that’s true or not. I just know it could cause strain at work if our manager found out. Do I unfollow her? Do I unfriend her? Do I report this? I’m so confused, Abby. Please help!
Facebooking in Fresno
Like many other entertainers, all three of us have social media accounts. We also have a couple for our show. We mainly use our accounts to announce our shows and keep up with our family from far away.
Dad says that, while it is true that we are usually free to post what we want, it is important to be respectful both to our friends and to ourselves. He says that many friendships have ended over disagreements on social media because people misunderstood things, took things too seriously, or were not open to other people’s ideas. In my book, Nose-to-Nose-Networking, and in her seminars, Mom talks about a time before social media when people actually talked face-to-face over a cup of coffee or a meal. They listened to each other, and stayed friends even when they did not agree. But social media makes it easy to be mean. You cannot see the sad face of your friend when they do not understand something you said. You cannot temper your comments with tone of voice or a hug if you must give tough advice. And you can never ask for forgiveness if you get blocked.
As a dog, and I only worked briefly with mom in an office that had other people, but I do know that no matter where you are, it is wrong to make people feel bad for no reason. Your boss may or may not ever find out about your co-worker’s posts. But it seems that your feelings are being hurt, too. When I am around other people, dogs, or cats who make me feel uncomfortable, I tend to avoid them. I do not wish any harm on them, but I know that I am happier when I am comfortable around people and animals that make me feel good and like the others around me. Maybe you should look at this the same way. Is this a one-time thing that is making you uncomfortable, or is this something your coworker does on a regular basis? If it is a frequent thing, you may want stay away before she goes after you, too.
Something else that mom brought up was that on Facebook, in particular, the people you talk to are usually labelled as “friends.” You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. If your “friend” is being mean and saying hurtful things toward someone you work with and respect, then maybe they are not the type of friend you want to be associated with.
As far as reporting her in to anyone, unless she is doing something illegal, it is best to stay out of it entirely. One thing us dogs learn to do is not to step in each other’s…well…you know…