The recent shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa hit very close to home and I was grateful for social media to both update friends and family and get a sense of what was going on. But, a friend’s actions left me shocked and I wonder if I should have shown a more “polite spine” in dealing with her.
My husband works just around the corner from Parliament Hill and he was due to head there for a meeting the morning of the shooting. When news broke, I had just arrived home with my six-month old daughter after dropping my toddler off at a playgroup. I couldn’t get hold of my husband, and posted the following on Facebook: “Thanks for the concern everyone. Haven’t heard from (husband), but I’m sure he is safe and in lockdown. I’ll keep you posted.” I also mentioned in a comment that I wasn’t sure if my husband had already arrived at Parliament Hill when everything happened.
Shortly after, an acquaintance, “Lisa”, posted this: “My friend, (husband), was at Parliament Hill this morning and he is missing. I’m so afraid he may be dead.” She tagged me, so all of my friends and family, including my mother-in-law, could see the message. I learned about the message when my MIL called, afraid that I wasn’t telling her everything. (At the time, we really didn’t know much about what was happening and there were a lot of rumours, so this message made things worse.)
Worse, Lisa started posting on my wall every 30 minutes or so, asking why I hadn’t updated everyone. I was more concerned about keeping my daughter safe (my neighbourhood had been told to lock doors and stay away from windows – disconcerting to say the least), and trying to get in touch with my husband than updating Facebook.
I really didn’t know how to respond to any of this. I was shocked that she was managing to make a tragedy that had nothing to do with her – or with me for that matter – ALL about her. I didn’t say anything in the end, but I can’t help but feel that I should have told her she was being irresponsible and inappropriate. I would love to know what you and your readers think about this.
By the way, my husband was fine. He was, as I suspected, in lockdown and they had been asked to turn off their phones for security reasons. 1028-14
You communicate to her by deleting her posts, untagging yourself from her posts and blocking her from commenting on your wall or not seeing your profile at all. My view is that your Facebook page is “owned” by you and as the administrator of your FB wall, you get to decide the content that appears on that page. If someone posts something to your wall that has the potential to cause heartache and panic among your loved ones or you who see it, you eliminate the source. You are under no obligation to let comments like that remain on your page.
I don’t believe in feeding drama queens by responding since in most cases these people are narcissists who have an egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others. No amount of logical appeals or stern rebuke changes a narcissist’s behavior because they believe it is all about them. Lisa ramped up the drama concerning your husband because it got her attention from others and fed her need to be perceived as the source of dramatic news. There is just no point in arguing with the crazy.
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You definitely need a spine in that situation, but NOT a polite one! I would have posted: “How dare you post something like this on your page! (husband) is NOT dead nor missing! He’s on lockdown! You have cause a lot of unnecessary drama & heartache! Delete this post immediately!”
She needed to be told something in a rude manner in order to get into her egotistical, drama filled brain. Some people need to be told in not so nice ways that their behavior is out of line and needs to stop. She could have just wrote “Please pray for those involved in the incident at Parliament Hill.” YOU would have known that she wrote it for your husband, but others would have seen it as a nice gesture.
I’m very glad your husband was ok.