Teen Talk: Public apology for unfriendly tweet may not stop the hurt

03/13/2012 12:00 AM

03/13/2012 10:16 AM

DEAR KELLY: My best friend and I recently got into an argument over a guy we both liked. We were both really angry and felt betrayed by the other one.

It was by far the biggest argument we've ever gotten into.

At one point, she tweeted: "Some best friend she is. She lies behind your back and you can't trust her. She makes me sick."

Lots of people responded and I could read all the replies. It was very hurtful, and I couldn't believe she would set me up like that. People I thought liked me replied with mean things they thought were funny.

Things have since been resolved, and she realized that I didn't go behind her back. She apologized to me for how awful she was during the fight and that I really never did all the things she accused me of. We moved on, but that tweet still really bothers me.

What do I do to stop obsessing about that tweet? I mentioned it when we started talking, and she kind of laughed and said she was crazy mad and didn't know what got into her. She made it seem like it was no biggie and like I should just forget what was said.

But I can't.

I'm confused and still hurt, and she has put the whole thing behind her.

Am I wrong to want her to tweet something about saying something about me that wasn't true? Should I ask for more of a public apology? Shouldn't she just do this on her own without me having to suggest it?

– Upset In E.G.

DEAR UPSET: Here lies the problem with social media. People can say things in the moment without any idea of the repercussions.

How you feel today about someone or a situation may not be how you feel tomorrow. If you have tweeted "in the moment feelings," it's hard to take them back, especially when people have replied and agreed with you.

Your friend stirred a lot of negative feelings, and she is not taking accountability for what she said. Moving on is much easier for her than saying she made a mistake and showing regret.

If you suggest she makes a public apology, I am not convinced you will feel better. What she said hurt, but what other people said hurt, as well. She may take it back, but they won't.

What if they reply negatively to her apology? Will that continue to pour salt on the wound? Will her apology feel believable and honest, or forced?

Consider all these factors before you ask her to tweet more about the situation.

You are not wrong to feel that she owes you more of an apology than she has given. It seems she has brushed off the situation but left you with the scar

Does it feel fair and right? No. Would I be a little more cautious of calling her my best friend? Yes.

Talk to her directly. Let her know how hurt you were, not only by what she said but how people replied. See how she responds to what you say.

If she brushes you off and doesn't acknowledge how this made you feel, I wouldn't expect much from her after this. Re-evaluate the friendship and move ahead with great caution.

A sincere, heartfelt personal response that shows she was wrong and has learned from this situation would be the best thing to hope for. If you get that, hopefully you start to heal.

In today's society, teen- agers use social media as a form of communication. While it may be the norm and what everyone is doing, it is not without flaw.

Take notice of what happened. You were the direct subject of the pain and hurt that can be caused by using these outlets.

Hopefully, both of you learn from this situation about the dangers that a momentary thought or feeling can create.

The old phrase, "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say it" applies way beyond kindergarten.


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