DEAR HARRIETTE: I was recently using my friend’s laptop, and a message from her boyfriend came up on the top right corner. I did not open it to read it in its entirety, but it appeared as though he was being emotionally abusive and gaslighting her in the message. How do I tell her about his manipulative techniques without my friend getting mad at me for reading her messages? -- Faux Beau, Milwaukee
DEAR FAUX BEAU: This may be a time that it is worth it for your friend to possibly be mad at you. Talk to her about what you read. Set it up carefully. Tell her that you were using her laptop when the message popped up, and you saw it. While you did not mean to break privacy, you did see the message, and it concerns you. Tell her how upset her boyfriend’s message made you because it got you worried that he is mistreating her. Ask your friend if she would like to talk about it. Ask if she is OK. Pledge that you will support her in any way that you can.
For your emotional health, know that you cannot get your friend to walk away from this man. It is completely up to her what she does next. Even if she chooses not to talk to you for a while given your breach of privacy, know that you did your part by commenting on what you saw.