General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Publicizing a quiet(ish) un-friending. I should stay out of it, right?

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All of the following names are made up.

I'm facebook friends with John. We went to college together, and have since seen each other at reunions etc. We were never close, but get along well enough. I am a casual acquaintance of Susan, who also went to college with us, but am not actually facebook friends with her.

John recently posted an article on his facebook wall which sparked a debate with Susan. After a heated back and forth, Susan added several points to her argument and invited John to unfriend her. John addresses her points but did not unfriend her. The back and forth continued. Finally, Susan posts that she feels like John is trying to intimidate her into agreeing with him and basically says shes done.

John then starts a separate post stating that Susan unfriended him over the argument on his wall and that he doesn't understand why. He asks if anyone can take a look at the conversation and explain it, adding that he may try to follow up with Susan via email in a few days, but is afraid that she might take it as harassment.

In reply, most people are offering John support, saying that they didn't see any of John's arguments as offensive or overly aggressive, and some even adding that Susan had previously unfriended them over similar disagreements.

I don't want to get involved in this argument. However, I feel a little awkward about John publicizing that Susan unfriended him. Especially when they have a lot of mutual friends/acquaintances. My inclination is to stay quiet and stay out of it. There is however a small, nagging part of me that wants to email Susan and give her a heads up. Because if I unfriended someone and they started making it into a Thing, I'd like to know. But at the same time, I can't think of anything productive I would do with that knowledge. So tell me, ehell, is my first inclination correct? Ignore the drama and stay out of it?

In case it's relevant (although I don't think it is): I happen to agree with John's position, but I think that the article he presented was a horrible example and that Susan's criticisms of the article were reasonable and legitimate. In terms of the actual argument Susan started off very snarky and John responded in kind. But then the argument quickly transitioned to more of a debate than a snark fest, until Susan's final "goodbye cruel thread" post.

Sheila Take a Bow:
Stay out of it. I've seen a very similar situation on Facebook and it only makes it worse when people start getting involved and reporting what's been said behind someone else's back.

Oh yes.  Definitely stay out of it.  And be evasive if he asks you for your opinion, "I wasn't involved, and I'd like to keep it that way", or something similar.

Stay out of it - all your intervention will achieve is to further upset Susan, plus make you look like a busybody for getting involved. Essentially you'd be fueling the drama.

Also if John and Susan still have mutual FB friends it is actually possible that she can see or is aware of the situation despite defriending him. You are not close enough to this situation to get involved or gauge it accurately.

Your instincts are, IMO, correct.  Stay out of it.  And normally I would agree that it was bad of John to advertise the unfriending-but in this case Susan started this part of the fight by making that public when she invited him to unfriend her.  If Susan hadn't done that, I would still stay out of it-but would be more torn.  But, in this case, she started this particular part of the drama by talking about unfriending on his wall in the first place.

Either way, in this case, staying out of it is the right thing to do. 


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