I’ve worked with “Jane” for three years and though we’re not really friends outside of work, we’ve always gotten along well. Or so I thought. Awhile back I Friended her on Facebook and she accepted. Recently someone else mentioned something Jane had posted which I didn’t see. I did some checking and it turns out that she has un-Friended me! I know that’s her choice, but I it hurts my feelings. We work together on a lot of projects and she still treats me nicely in person, but I don’t feel like I can trust her anymore. Should I confront her or just let it go?
A.Combining professional and personal relationships has always been a bit tricky, but when you add social media to the mix, it becomes more complicated and potentially problematic. How you want to handle this depends on how much effort you’re willing to put into it, what you hope to gain, and whether or not you’re willing to hear and accept some criticism. If you decide to confront her, you should do it in private when there is time for a real conversation. Don’t ambush her, but let her know there’s something on your mind that you’d like to discuss. Tell her that it looks as though she has un-Friended you, and that you’d like to know if you’ve done something on Facebook that has made her uncomfortable. Let her know that you’re trying to improve your social media skills, and would appreciate her feedback. Then listen – without defensiveness – to what she has to say. It may have been nothing more than a computer glitch or user error, but it also may be that you have been guilty of a breach of Facebook etiquette – over-posting, posting photos of her without permission, etc. Perhaps the two of you have different values, and things you post are disturbing or offensive to her. Or it could simply be that she has had the courage to establish some boundaries between her personal and professional contacts in social media. And, IMHO, that’s a good thing!