Editor's note: For the fourth installment of Christina Pesoli's new advice column, Emotional Hardbody takes a social media quandary between coworkers.
Dear Emotional Hardbody,
I am friends with someone named “Jenny.” Jenny and I work together, and while I don’t think of us as besties or anything, I do consider her more than just a coworker. Once or twice during the workweek we’ll have coffee or lunch together, but we don’t really see each other outside of the office.
Jenny is one of those people who is not on Facebook. She told me she and her husband “Carl” made a pact to both stay off of it. It’s not that they’re philosophically opposed to it or anything. It’s just that they decided this was something they weren’t going to do for now.
The other night when I was on Facebook, I noticed that Carl has a Facebook page. I cannot read his wall or any of his posts because we are not “friends,” but I can tell from his profile photo that it is clearly him. I am now worried that Carl is up to no good behind Jenny’s back. Should I tell her?
Given what Jenny told you, I can understand why discovering that Carl is on Facebook raises a question in your mind. But you’re getting ahead of yourself when it comes to what question this should raise.
Think of it this way: If Jenny told you on Friday that she was flying to Miami on Saturday but then you saw her car in the mall parking lot on Sunday, it would raise a question in your mind. But the question would be “Why was your car in the mall parking lot on Sunday?” not “Who stole your car?”
Asking a simple question doesn’t cross any lines; it’s actually the friendly thing to do.
So, coming across Carl’s Facebook profile should make you ask, “Why does Carl have a Facebook page?” not “Why is Carl up to no good?”
People can have Facebook pages for a variety of reasons. Maybe Carl’s is for business and Jenny is fully aware of it, but Jenny and Carl’s pact had to do with Facebook pages for personal use.
Or it could be Carl had a Facebook page before Jenny and Carl made their agreement, and he doesn’t use it anymore. Or perhaps someone set up a Facebook page for Carl as a joke. Or there’s a chance someone is in the process of stealing Carl’s identity. Or there’s a possibility Carl is up to no good. Or maybe there’s another reason all together.
The only way to find out the answer is to ask the question. And if you feel like phrasing it as a question is somehow accusatory, simply phrase it as a statement like this: “Hey, I noticed that Carl has a Facebook page.” If you want to lighten it up, you can always add, “I guess that means it’s ‘game on’ for you!”
Asking a simple question doesn’t cross any lines; it’s actually the friendly thing to do. But thinking that your friend’s husband is up to no good without a solid reason, or not bothering to mention to your friend that you’ve come across something that raises a serious question in your mind? You know how the saying goes. With friends like that ...
Got a hard question? Get an Emotional Hardbody answer. Email your questions to Christina, and you could be featured in an upcoming article.