A reader writes:
I have a work colleague we’ll call J. We I sit next to each other and have been friendly the entire time we worked together. She has told me about things in her personal life and I’ve shared the same type of stuff with her.
A couple days ago, J showed me something she’d re-blogged (some animated gif that we both thought was funny), and I happened to notice the URL of her blog. I looked up her blog and started reading it; I didn’t think I was being out of line since she’d showed me the page already.
Then I found a very recent post where she made fun of me for starting a juice cleanse. I was hurt, but I was even more hurt to find that her followers were urging her on to create a blog devoted to my “ridiculousness.” Apparently she posts about me on her blog a lot (12 posts in the past three weeks) and the things she writes are very unkind.
I’m at a loss as to what to do. I know that the best option is to let this go, back away from the “friendship” gracefully and not read the blog again. But the extent to which she has posted about me is pretty startling. Worst of all, she’s recently posted a conversation we had about our boss, who had to go home for medical reasons. J kept insisting it was because of prescription drug overdose, and I tried to stop the conversation by saying “I think it’s a medical issue” (basically, saying it’s private and using my tone to indicate I didn’t want to talk about it). But now it’s on this blog, and it looks like I was participating in gossip.
It’s not difficult to find her blog at all, and based on personal information she shares, it’s not difficult to identify her or the (small) company that we both work for. Aside from my own anger and hurt over what I’ve found, the things she posts about could be potentially embarrassing for our employer.
At a minimum, I’d really like her to take the post about our boss down, but I don’t know how to broach this topic without blowing things up radically. It’s possible, but not super likely, that I could have stumbled upon the blog through other means. Do you have any suggestions about how to tackle this diplomatically? Am I being unreasonably sensitive about things she posted in her personal blog (that was probably never meant for me to see)?
I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.
Read more: askamanager.org