Coworkers Talking Bad About Me on Facebook

Question:

I just found out a co-worker was making fun of me on Facebook to some other co-workers. All of them have been extra nice to me to my face so it was a shock to see this attack on Facebook. How should I handle it?

Signed,

Hurt


Answer:

Dear Hurt:

You should discuss this with your supervisor. Even though it was on Facebook, it obviously has ties to work and will have an effect on how you work with those people. Since someone cared enough to tell you, consider giving their name to the supervisor as someone who can verify it.

Also, if a coworker wrote negative things on Facebook they likely have said negative things at work. Either way, your supervisor should know about it.

Your supervisor will probably not be sure what to do about it, since Facebook and similar social network programs are relatively new problems for the workplace. Consider asking her to at least speak to the employee or employees to tell them that their Facebook comments got back to you and were hurtful. Since you work with them, it harmed the work environment. So, even though she can’t make them stop writing what they want, you can ask her to watch more closely to make sure they do not act on their negative feelings at work.

Continue to do your work in a professional way. You won’t feel comfortable about them again or at least not for a long time. But, maybe your good behavior will make them feel ashamed of their mean remarks. If not, at least the people who become aware of their remarks will see them for what they are.

Now, let me also mention this: The nature of the comments may be hurtful, but it may be that they wrote about something you needed to hear. If the comments were about something you do or say or some aspect of your appearance or grooming that you can change and improve, you will want to do that anyway. If they were making fun of mistakes you make that you should correct, you will want to do that as well. Their approach of writing and talking behind your back was wrong, but sometimes that is the way people leak hints to others.

I’m not saying that is the case, but I would be remiss to not mention it. When you talk to your supervisor you may want to ask her if there are areas in which you need to improve or if the remarks made by the coworkers reflect something that is true and that you need to correct.

Hopefully this is only a case of some mean-spirited people who will be seen by others as they are. You keep focused on doing good work. Over time the situation will fade away and you will come out of it looking far better than them.

Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.