DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine, “Mary,” went on a rant on social media, saying really unpleasant things about people and even naming them. Obviously, she was upset, but I think this was an unwise thing to do. Who knows who all will see her posts? Plus, the people Mary was talking about don’t deserve to be talked about so poorly. I’m sure she is feeling stir crazy from being at home for so long.
In her post, Mary was mad at a couple of friends who hadn’t gotten back to her in what she thought was a timely manner while she noticed that they had been communicating with each other back and forth on social media. She felt left out, and she went off on them. I want to step in and get her to cool off and take these posts down. Do you think that I am crossing a line? We are good friends. I would hope that somebody would pull my coattails if I made such a big mistake. -- Having Her Back
DEAR HAVING HER BACK: If you think Mary will hear you, give it a try. Call her and check in. Ask her how she is doing, and let her vent before you get into why you called. She needs to feel heard and supported, so you offer that as a first step.
Once she has said her piece, tell her you have something you want to discuss with her. Point out that you have seen her angry post about your mutual friends. Acknowledge that you understand what she is upset about. Then give context that you wish she would talk to them privately rather than putting her feelings out in the public. Suggest that she take down her post as it could backfire on her if it gets in the wrong hands. Recommend instead that she reach out to her friends and work it out -- or simply let it go.