I know I’m not the only person who has scrolled down my newsfeed and comes across a friend going off about her personal life. Either she's reeling over a breakup or just pissed about some work drama. Either way, there is a difference between a quick vent and a crash-and-burn meltdown.
Recently, I was talking to my sister and she asked me if I had seen some recent posts from a childhood friend. I admitted that unfortunately I had and it seemed like this woman had an extreme case of the Twitter fingers. She was going on about no-good dudes, lying dudes, cheating dudes, just memes for days. To be honest, I was concerned. But what made it downright disappointing was the number of likes and emojis people left on her posts.
Clearly, Sis was in need of an intervention. Whatever happened in her most recent relationship or her relationships throughout her life had taken her to a breaking point and people decided to either like it (which was implicitly condoning these unhealthy rants) or just flat out instigating and hyping her up in the comments.
I’m like, “Damn, is this what we’ve come to? Treating someone’s emotional pain with a simple click of an icon?
Although I don’t have all of the answers, I have some ideas about how to go about situations like these.
Check in with the person offline
A simple, “You ok, Sis?” can go a long way. A person who is lashing out on social media and sharing their personal issues is definitely looking to be heard. Letting another woman know that you've got her back is so important to keep her from doing something irrational, violent or self-destructive. Don’t comment or inquire publicly. Use messenger, or if they're more than just a social media “friend,” send them a text to begin the conversation.
Check the person
Once you have their attention and have them away from their status update, check them. Let them know that it's not healthy to be putting all their business out in these streets. They are leaving themselves wide open to criticism that will only heighten their emotions and probably start a whole other argument. I know some people who start at 10,000 and I’m trying to talk them down to 100. But my real friends are very aware that I’m not encouraging their nonsense by liking their petty posts. When you’re feeling petty, call someone you trust. Don’t confide in a world that is probably happy to see you miserable in the first place.
Encourage them to check in with a professional
If someone I know is really in crisis mode and can’t seem to move past their issues, I am going to be that friend to suggest that they seek professional help. Like I said, I don’t have all of the answers and I don’t want to trivialize or mishandle someone’s pain. Because Iyanla can’t fix everyone’s life, a therapy session is the next best thing.
I can admit that I don’t always follow my own advice. I don’t always check in with my sistas when I see them losing it on social media, therefore falling into the bystander effect. But I make sure not to feed the monster, either. When I feel that it’s not my place to step in because I’m just a social media “friend” and not a real friend, I either scroll past or unfollow the person.
But I have to do better. We have to do better. Because women are suffering right before our eyes and when we do nothing, we aid in their demise.