my coworker writes a mean blog about me

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.

{ 284 comments… read them below }

    1. ContentWrangler*

      I don’t think so – which is too bad because I’m dying to know what happened.

      1. Manon*

        Based on the use of the word “reblog” I’m guessing the blog was a Tumblr account- J could have very easily changed the url and made it visible only to Tumblr users. If LW didn’t follow J, the blog would become nigh impossible to find after these changes and allow J to continue posting stuff about work.

        Clearly this is all conjecture, but Tumblr often fosters a negative, juvenile environment and it strikes me as unlikely that someone like this would change their ways when it’s so easy to become anonymous.

        1. PollyQ*

          Not to say it wasn’t tumblr, but I’ve been on tumblr for years, and I’ve seen mostly postive, supportive, creative, funny interactions. There’s good & bad everywhere.

          1. Manon*

            Oh same, I definitely think it depends on who’s in your particular network and certainly there are many people who aren’t what I described. It’s just that ime discourse often devolves into ‘who can make the snarkiest meme-based comeback’.

        2. seejay*

          “Tumblr often fosters a negative, juvenile environment”

          clearly you’ve never seen LiveJournal, which came before Tumblr.

          1. WorkerB*

            I’m going to quote PollyQ here: “There’s good & bad everywhere.” I am active on LJ (it still exists) and I met my best friend because of LJ, so not every where in LJ is negative, juvenile either.

            1. Curmudgeon in California*

              I active on Dreamwidth (an OS LiveJournal clone – I xpost to LJ too), and I don’t see even the kind of juvenile junk that I saw on Tumblr.

              It depends on who you follow, IMO.

            2. EmKay*

              it’s still active?? wow, I wonder if I can log into my account (if I could manage to remember the password, that is)

              1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

                Well it’s still “around”, active is subjective. Hint, there’s a link to an old ONTD from 2010 down thread, it’s still there.

            3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Yep. The internet, every form and every social aspect of it has it’s ugly side because it’s the internet and it’s easy to “hide” behind a screen. But it’s also a very supportive, loving and deeply involved community as well. I have close friends of almost twenty years through all the different platforms. I’ve also seen awful things said and done to others as well, don’t get me wrong there.

              There’s always light and dark, it’s the universe.

        3. Amber T*

          I think any social media site where anyone can post pretty much anything will have some bad, negative crap on it. That being said, tumblr (and many other similar sites, like reddit, even Facebook with its group systems) can also offer a safe, protective, positive place for you to explore who you are, learn about new things, and be open.

          If you look for crap, you’re gonna find crap. But if you look for the good, you’ll definitely find good too.

        1. namelesscommentator*

          Wow. How incredibly inappropriate. It’s pretty common to vent about people on an online space (some could say AAM is dedicated to people doing this.) There’s been an ongoing saga in the Friday open threads that would be easily identifiable to a coworker on a site that is no doubt much more trafficked than a medium sized tumblr. Somehow those people aren’t referred to with derogatory terms for doing the precise same thing, with a larger audience.

          1. darsynia*

            I’m confused as to what you’re advocating here. It looks like you’re objecting both to the use of the word ‘psycho’ as well as saying it’s okay for coworkers to vent in public in identifiable posts?

            I agree we shouldn’t use terms like that, but I certainly don’t think it’s charitable to take your workplace venting into a venue where the person you’re venting about can read it and be hurt, and I definitely don’t think it should be something most people condone doing.

            Vent in private, vent with circumstances and names changed, vent in another language, vent in a locked post, but goodness’ sake, don’t vent so openly that you hurt people you have to work with! Am I really that off-base here?

          2. SenatorMeathooks*

            AAM posts about workplace-related issues for the most part with reasonable efforts to conceal the identity of the individuals involved in order to dispense constructive, thoughtful, and generally well-crafted advice to benefit others.

            Publically mocking the personal details your coworker’s life that has been disclosed to you in confidence is completely out of line and not anywhere near the spirit of AAM.

            If I were the OP, I would not be nice about it. But most people are not me, and I get it.

    2. Myrin*

      I remember that OP wrote a few comments with additional information (about the blog itself, I believe) but I don’t think there was ever an update after any kind of confrontation took place.

    3. Robin*

      The original was picked up by Get Off My Internets, which has forums commenting on both AAM and Tumblr. The Tumblr in question was really easily identified from the details of this letter (I knew who it was immediately when I read it), and it was someone who blogged frequently using her real name. She was harassed and ended up apologizing, then deleting her blog and I think most or all of her social media presence.

      1. Amber T*

        Oh wow. I mean, it’s not harmless even if it’s completely anonymous, but there’s gonna be zero chance that nobody out there knows what you’re talking about. I get paranoid posting here sometimes that someone at work is gonna figure out it’s me, even though Amber isn’t my real name and I don’t think I’ve given enough personal information.

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Ah the internet justice still doing it’s thing. It has a way of self cleansing at times.

      1. burningupasun*

        This is a re-post of an old question. Alison does that sometimes. She always puts at the bottom: “I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago…”

  1. jaja is here*

    I think I must be much more confrontational than most, because I’d simply say, “I read your blog and you and it are awful.”
    Then I’d share it with my coworkers.

    1. Laika*

      I probably wouldn’t broach the subject at all, but then pull way back on the relationship – but I’m Canadian (if that makes a difference?). It feels like one of those things where if you go looking, you’ll find something you don’t like. But I can see it from both sides, since it legitimately affects a work relationship.

      1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        I’m generally one to confront people who are being jerks, but I agree with you on this one. I’d stick to civil work conversations and not engage socially.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          My biggest problem with this would be the blog about Boss that makes it look like OP was a participant in gossip. I think I’d probably say something like..”read your blog, interesting…”

          1. EmKay*

            Yeah, if I were OP I’d be long-term nervous about that specific post coming (back) to bite me in the butt.

          2. darsynia*

            Yes, I agree. I would be tempted to say something like ‘Your blog, which I was dismayed to read yesterday, seems to imply that I was gossiping about our boss. Honestly, my comment about the medical issue was trying to smooth over what I viewed as an inappropriate level of interest in our boss’s private issues. I think it would be very easy to pinpoint both the people you write about and our workplace from your entries, and that’s very disturbing to me. I would prefer if you removed mentions of me as I am easily identifiable and I do not wish to be associated or appear to condone your blog.’

            Unfortunately unless this was in an email there’s no way you could get all of that out before interruption. UGH this situation. I’m glad to have read in another comment that the blogger was compelled via unfortunate levels of harassment to remove it, but I am seriously dismayed at the idea of posting something like that in the first place. Especially because the letter writer had felt they were somewhat friends, before reading the blog.

    2. Anon.*

      Yes I would forward the post about my boss to the boss like FYI Jane has been writing untrue terrible things about you and invading your privacy online. Blogging that your boss overdosed on prescriptions and had to leave work as a result is actionable. Jane should be fired.

      1. Maria Lopez*

        I agree, and I wouldn’t tell Jane anything about reading her blog. I would want it to stay up for at least the time needed to inform the boss and whomever else she has been maligning.
        And obviously you should speak only superficially to Jane from now on. I might become a follower of her (anonymously of course) so I could occasionally disagree with her.

    1. Exhausted Trope*

      I’m thinking that she ought to take it up with HR due to the post about the boss. What was written might reflect poorly on the company. Depending upon what was actually written, this could border on libel.

    2. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      Most likely HR will ask what she has done so far, and if she says nothing, will suggest that she start there. Allison has said many times that the first step is talking to your coworker, not HR.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        What? HR should never respond with “What have you done so far to remedy this yourself”, that’s awful and unacceptable. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching someone in a situation, you have every right to escalate to the “authority” figures.

        1. Not Me*

          I second this. HR and managers are ‘paid the big bucks’ to handle stuff like this. I’d have no problem if an employee wanted to try themselves to resolve it first, but if someone came to me with this and asked for help I’d handle it.

        2. Ethyl*

          Usually HR is not really for interpersonal conflicts between employees though. They aren’t mediators and they aren’t really there to be “authority figures” the way I think maybe you mean.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            You’re not in HR, are you?

            We get a lot of interpersonal things. This could end up in a harassment lawsuit, even though it’s “outside” of work. Our employment lawyer has confirmed it.

            1. Ethyl*

              I think in *some* cases, that issues between employees *could* be something for HR to get involved in, if there are special and limited circumstances like harassment or discrimination. That’s because HR is largely there to help shield the company from litigation.

              But they’re not there for employees to go to when they don’t get along with a co-worker, or someone has habits they don’t like, or someone said something mean. They aren’t “authority figures” for employees to tattle to, this isn’t school, they aren’t the principal. It’s perfectly reasonable for an HR rep to ask “what have you tried on your own to resolve this?”

              And no, I’m not in HR, I just have reading comprehension skills.

                1. Ethyl*

                  No, just that I give more weight to the dozens and dozens of posts here about how what lots of people *think* HR is for (e.g. mediating interpersonal conflicts between coworkers, or coworkers and bosses) isn’t really what HR is actually usually for in most companies (keeping the company safe from litigation). I guess in some companies they could function differently but I’ve certainly never worked somewhere where “going to HR” would be a first step in addressing a conflict with a co-worker, and I don’t think asking “have you addressed this with them personally” first is the wildly unreasonable response some people are suggesting.

                2. Works in IT*

                  I can see where you would want to go to HR first…. if coworker reacts to being called on their rudeness by HIDING their posts, rather than taking them down, you’ll want them to be aware that this employee is telling their followers lies about the company before it is hidden. And HR understandably will want to know which steps you’ve taken because if any of your steps made something worse, they will want to know.

                3. I AM a lawyer*

                  I think it’s a myth that HR exists only to “keep the company safe from litigation.”

                4. Sleepless HR in Seattle*

                  Yeah, I was going to say as somebody in HR, we get a lot of employees who come chat with us about interpersonal issues. Yes, sometimes the things are really petty and we tell the person “Have you tried talking to this person directly?” or maybe give them some coaching for how to approach another person if they have an issue with something that has been said or done. But there have been times people came to us with a slightly more serious conflict (bullying or harassment) where our intervention or mediation was helpful or absolutely necessary.

                  Coaching employees through interpersonal conflict is totally a part of HR, plus it gives us valuable insight into certain workplace dynamics (who might work well together or not). HR covers a broad variety of things from recruiting and staffing, training, managing employee relations, records keeping, performance management, benefits, sometimes payroll, employee motivation, retention and engagement, mediating disputes, mitigating risk, employee message/branding, compliance… it is a broad range. Narrowing the HR function down to just shielding companies from litigation is… limiting to say the least.

                5. Detective Right-All-The-Time*

                  I am actually in HR, and “have you talked to (your manager, this coworker)?” is 100% where we start with interpersonal conflicts like this. It should then move on to “do you feel comfortable speaking to (your manager, this coworker)?” and “what would you like HR to do?” and digging deeper from there. But Ethyl is absolutely correct that HR will start by asking if the employee has spoken to the coworker in question.

              1. darsynia*

                None of this situation reads as something as mundane as a habit someone doesn’t like, and I strongly disagree with the idea that going to HR about this would be characterized as ‘tattling.’ Furthermore, your dig about reading comprehension simply comes across as tone deaf as it makes me wonder what you were reading to come to that conclusion about this post in particular.

                The blog post as described seems to very clearly give the impression that Jane thinks her boss OD’d on prescription drugs. There are multiple posts a week, given the average the letter writer spoke of. This reads to me more on the level of ‘there’s a smell of gas in the basement’ rather than ‘Blanche wears a color I don’t like.’

            2. Ethyl*

              Also, I mean, just about anything could result in a lawsuit. People in the US can pretty much sue anyone for anything. That doesn’t mean they’ll win, of course, but just because an employment lawyer said this could be a possible lawsuit doesn’t mean it’s a *winnable* lawsuit for the person bringing it or that it’s at all reasonable.

              1. EmploymentLawyer*

                That’s not true, and a fairly common (and damaging) misconception. To sue, you need a specific cause of action; you can’t just sue by listing something bad someone did to you.

            3. Not Me*

              Again, agree with The Man, Becky Lynch. I’m in HR and I’ve dealt with two interpersonal conflicts this week so far.

              1. Jadelyn*

                Heck, I’m not even in the employee relations side of HR – I’m systems and analytics – but when people know you’re “part of HR”, regardless of your specific role, they do come to you with this stuff.

              2. Anna*

                In addition, a blog talking shit about a coworker and a boss and their supposed drug habit is not an “interpersonal” issue. It’s actually an employment issue. It causes distrust amongst coworkers and is actually harmful to the reputation of their manager.

                1. PJ*

                  I agree completely that this goes beyond an interpersonal issue. The blog exposes some glaring character flaws in the coworker that could cause some big trouble company wide. I think talking to the coworker first gives her a chance to take the blog down, but it doesn’t change the fact that she thought it was ok in the first place. That’s a fairly serious judgment call.

          2. Moray*

            My HR’s standard for anything interpersonal is “you should always be able to tell someone that something they did made you uncomfortable, and then we can talk to both sides before we explore mediation.” They really, really suck.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              That’s a great way to get a settlement though.

              They can be named personally in the lawsuit as well when they are noted as “I told HR and they told me to deal with it myself.”

              That’s an old school way of thinking for HR not being a “mediator”, this is a new era with #MeToo and the uptick in EEOC complaints.

            2. yala*

              My HR guy told me “I used to work in the military. Now, if you wanna see a REAL hostile work environment…”

              …this while I was crying (didn’t mean to, thought I wouldn’t), and explaining a coworker’s history of bullying me.

              He also opened the meet with “You boss said you wanted to come in and complain?” (What I had ASKED for was that an HR person be present at the discussion my boss had wanted to have with me and the coworker, specifically because boss and coworker are friends who go on lunch/breaks together etc, and she told me she didn’t know of any record of coworker’s behavior towards me under the previous boss, even though it got her demoted. That meeting never happened, and after the HR guy, I just sort of…gave up on anyone stepping in.)

              1. yala*

                This to say–I suppose ideally HR should be mediators (and if nothing else, should have supported my request for communication with said coworker to be conducted via e-mail as a solution for our “communication issues.” After recent diagnoses, I now know that was a request for reasonable accommodation, but tbh, it seems like a very reasonable thing to ask when two people are having trouble communicating REGARDLESS of neurotypicality. Instead he just shrugged it off and said he agreed with my boss that it was ridiculous and unreasonable).

                1. yala*

                  ….argh, dangit, hit reply early. Was supposed to finish that thought with “ideally they should be reasonable mediators, but you really can’t count on that.”

                2. CmdrShepard4ever*

                  For communication issues I don’t know that conducting conversations via email, is a good solution. Often time certain conversations are harder in written form because you are less able to judge tone, inflections, and other non verbal cues that you can receive in face to face or verbal conversations.

                  Also if your diagnosis was recent, and your employer does not know about it and you didn’t tell them the reason you were asking for communication in writing was due to your diagnosis, then it was not a request for reasonable accommodations.

                  If I have back issues that my employer does not know about, and I ask for a certain more comfortable chair but don’t mention why, that is not a request for reasonable accommodation and my employer would probably say no.
                  If I say I have back issues and this particular chair can help with those issues. That would be asking for a reasonable accommodation.

                  Also “hostile work environment” has a very specific legal meaning and it is based on a protected class. A coworker being a general jerk, but not based on protected class status is not legal hostile work environment.

              2. Lance*

                Wow. Those… those are really not the sorts of things competent HR should be saying. At all. Ever.

                I hope you’ve at least gotten away from that coworker and boss since.

                1. yala*

                  No. And things are pretty dicey for me right now.

                  Thing is, I actually love the job itself. And it’s kind of the only game in town for this sort of work.

                2. Jules the 3rd*

                  Wow. This sounds like a good potential q for Alison.

                  I don’t say this lightly, but you might consider consulting a lawyer with your documentation and recent diagnosis in hand to get good verbiage to take to your manager and HR.

                  Documentation should include:
                  All records of co-worker’s prior behavior towards you and resultant disciplinary action
                  Records of current treatment, like it’s meeting notes: Date, time, attendees (audience), topics discussed, context of why something is problematic if it’s subtle jabs rather than obvious slurs
                  Actions you’ve taken to address it

                  Good luck.

            3. Ethyl*

              See I don’t see why that sucks? You *should* be able to discuss interpersonal conflicts with your coworkers maturely and straightforwardly, no?

              1. MissBliss*

                Yes, but that presumes your coworkers are mature and straightforward. If you know they aren’t, then HR telling you that you “should always be able to” talk to Unreasonable Colleague is a slap in the face– especially if HR knows it, too.

                1. OhBehave*

                  Especially in this case where the cw posts horrible things about her coworker and boss. This tells me she may not be contrite. Defensive more likely.

              2. Moray*

                Really? “Hey, coworker who bullies and/or harasses me, let’s chat and see if we can resolve our issues. Also, here’s a heads-up to get your side of the story ready, delete some emails, make your blog private and prep your friends to back up your version of events.”

              3. Gingerblue*

                “Hey, remember when you groped me the other day, and that gross email you sent me? Let’s go get coffee alone and talk about your feelings about that! Also, I just want to make sure you have enough warning so you can delete stuff, get your story straight, and go to our boss with a made-up complaint about me first. 2:00 Tuesday sound good?”

                Which is to say: no.

            4. EmKay*

              What about when someone is on the receiving end of workplace bullying? Sexual harassment?

          3. Tie*

            I don’t think this is an interpersonal conflict, which implies there’s a similar level of responsibility to both parties. In this case, one person is harming their coworker, their boss, and the company. The poster isn’t doing anything.

            1. a1*

              I was just going to say that I don’t see this as an interpersonal conflict at all. One employee, J, has a public blog where she discusses work and people she works with. It is easy to identify where she works, even though she doesn’t come right out and say it. This in itself is a huge “no-no” at every company I’ve worked at, and add in she is being disparaging to boot and I’d think HR/the company would want to know.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Agreed. This is a company problem. An employee feels she can write garbage about people she works with. That needs to be addressed by the company. Describing it as an interpersonal problem is an easy-out.

          4. Curmudgeon in California*

            Everywhere I’ve worked HR is very quick to jump in to interpersonal conflicts, usually coming down on the side of the person who complains to them (even if it’s overblown and petty.)

            If it’s a serious issue, make sure you go to HR first. If you confront your coworker about their nasty blog, they are likely to go to HR and whine about you “harassing” them about a non-work activity (not mentioning that it is a blog about work and coworkers.)

      2. Liar Liar Pants Dracarys*

        Not when she’s saying someone at work overdosed. That’s straight to HR, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

        1. Ethyl*

          Yeah I think that probably warrants a chat to LW’s boss and possibly HR, because that has the ability to harm the company. I wouldn’t go to HR and say “this person said mean things about me on the internet,” though, I think that part of it LW needs to address themselves.

          1. Amber T*

            I get OP’s hesitance on that, though. She sounds like she shut that down in person in the moment well, but if coworker posted online saying “OP and I both think it was an overdose,” it becomes a he said/she said situation. What would stop coworker from truly pulling a Regina George and trying to pin the blame on OP?

            1. Liar Liar Pants Dracarys*

              True, but OP also has the benefit of the nastiness of the rest of the blog to back up that Regina George is a slore.

        2. Roja*

          Yeah, I was surprised Alison didn’t nail that bit down. That’s a big deal. If I were the boss and I knew someone had known about it but hadn’t told me, I would be very, very upset.

      3. ManagerInTO*

        Absolutely not true. At any large organization, HR would want to deal with this. Source: worked for a few of THE big tech companies…. this is behaviour that shows the person has poor judgement. It’s termination worthy on the spot. Every contract I’ve had specifically prohibits stuff like this.

  2. CatCat*

    Wow, I’d definitely let her know that I knew. And warn co-workers about the blog in case they become targets. And alert the manager who was a target as well.

    Then, the best she could expect from me in the workplace would be icy civility.

    1. Richard*

      I’d go the icy route, too. “I’m sorry that I misread our friendly relationship as grist for your blog about how terrible I am. From now on, I won’t engage with you in any way that isn’t strictly necessary for getting work done.”

  3. HoneyBadger*

    I’d say something to J along the lines of, “You posted about me 12 times in 3 weeks, huh? That’s really weird that you spend that much time thinking about me…and also kind of sad.”

    1. AryaSnark*

      Exactly what I was thinking! “I’m sorry your life is so boring that you feel the need to post about mine. Your level of obsession here is creepy.” Make her see that not only is it inappropriate and rude, but also just plain weird.

    2. Officious Intermeddler*

      All I can hear in my head after reading your comment is “Why are you so obsessed with me?” lol

      1. Bowserkitty*

        (I say this to my cat often, especially when he follows me to the bathroom.)

  4. Roscoe*

    I know this will be unpopular, but I kind of think its one of those where she has the right to say what she likes. Maybe I’m reading it wrong (which if that is the case kind of negates this), but it seems that she doesn’t list her name or company name or anything, but its more if you look at all the clues there, you can figure out who the company is. So its basically anonymous, unless you know what you are looking for. OP knows all of this, so she thinks its easily identfiable, but it may not be to a random stranger who comes across the blog. I kind of think its fair game if she isn’t exactly naming names. Is it really any worse than someone writing into AAM about annoying co-worker, but not using any names or anything that identifies them, but co-worker happens to come across it? Or someone complaining on reddit or another “anonymous” site, and a coworker figuring out their reddit username?

    I do think you have every right to feel hurt and back away from the friendship. But asking her to take it down may be a step too far.

    1. Laika*

      I think this is where I fall, too. I know my sibling’s Reddit account name, and go poking once in a while out of interest. I find things that I definitely don’t agree with (and would confront them if they expressed those things in person), but it feels like a breach of their own privacy to bring it up outside of the context where it already exists.

      That said, this is a work thing, which makes it a bit different, in a way.

    2. Anna*

      Of course she has a right to say it, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t stop. I have a right to walk down the street and tell everyone I see in what specific way their attire is ugly and/or in bad taste, but I should not do that because it is mean and unnecessary. Same for this coworker. One should do one’s best in life not to hurt other people, unless it is for a very good reason. That’s not the law, but it is a rule of civilised society.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Yep. Having the right to do something is not the same as being right in doing it.

    3. AnonEMoose*

      She has the right to say it…she doesn’t have the right to say it without consequence. J is free to say awful stuff on the Internet, but OP has the right to decide how/if she chooses to interact with J on the basis of that information.

      And the company (assuming a private entity, not a governmental one) also has the right to decide whether to continue to cmploy J or to ask her to modify her posts about the company.

      I’ll admit, I get a little tired of people who seem to think that their right to say awful stuff means that no one should treat them any differently because they said awful stuff. Sure, they have the right to say awful stuff…I have the right to decide I no longer want to associate with them because they said awful stuff.

      1. DaffyDuck*

        This! Just because it may be legal doesn’t make it right. I would definitely stop associating with this person in any way other than what is required for work. I would also tell any work friends that she has a tendency to blog (meanly) about what happens at work and they should watch their step with her.
        Anyone who has the poor judgement to blog negative things about work in a public forum (even if they don’t mention company/names) I want to stay far, far away from. Implying the manager had a drug overdose in a public forum – many states allow someone to be let go for no specific reason and most businesses include a “morals clause”. Sounds like a great way to lose your job to me.

      2. Mama Bear*

        This. ^^

        “We are free to choose our actions, . . . but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.”
        ― Stephen R. Covey, First Things First

      3. pleaset*

        “She has the right to say it…she doesn’t have the right to say it without consequence.”

        This. Someone trashing co-workers like that in a way that can be idenfied, for things that do not affect the blogger or anyone in a bad way? No, no, no. This should be escalated. It should not handled “diplomatically” – it should be handled agresssively.

      4. Close Bracket*

        “I have the right to decide I no longer want to associate with them because they said awful stuff.”

        Backing away from the friendship is what Roscoe advised.

      5. Anon for this, colleagues read here*

        Governmental entities also often have strict rules about this sort of thing. Sometimes stricter.

      6. Not So NewReader*

        Going one more step, AnonE, if OP had decided to send a link around the office for everyone to see and to be informed about, I’d say that J had no right to expect privacy on the internet.

        It’s not a new concept, if something is said on the internet it can make the trip right around so all can see.

        So much for J’s professional reputation and so much for J’s reputation for trustworthiness. All gone. Done.

      7. Washed Out Data Analyst*

        THANK YOU. I don’t understand why it’s such a trope to judge victims of shitty behavior for reacting to how they are treated. People seem to criticize the victims for getting angry and hurt more harshly than the perpetrators themselves, citing “free speech” and whatnot. Yes, you technically have a right to say rude, horrible things about people. Likewise, other people have a right to call you a rude, horrible person for saying said things. They also have a right to speak honestly about their experiences with other people and not cover for said horrible person, even if that person thought they could get away with being secretly terrible.

        1. Third or Nothing!*

          Exactly! Your post reminded me of all the terrible advice my parents gave me when I was bullied all through middle and high school: If you wouldn’t react so poorly then they would stop. Putting the onus on the victim to react or not react a certain way is not the way to make the bad behavior stop.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      One specific reason she does NOT have the right to talk about this in this case:
      *If she’s telling the truth about her boss’s overdose, it’s a privacy violation. (She’s not a newspaper.)
      *And if she’s lying about boss’s overdose, it’s libel.

      1. Natalie*

        If she’s telling the truth about her boss’s overdose, it’s a privacy violation. (She’s not a newspaper.)

        Huh? There’s no legal violation here, as an individual (rather than a health care provider or a school, say), she’s not bound by any privacy laws. The (US) right to privacy is fairly narrow.

        1. Anon.*

          Shes not bound by privacy laws but she cannot make up untrue defamatory statements and post them online.

          1. fposte*

            It’s not likely to meet the standard for defamation, though, if the OP is the only person who knows who that person really is and it hasn’t changed her opinion of them.

          2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            The boss has to prove the damages, which is why it’s hard to pin someone for spreading false stuff about you. You have to prove monetary damages. So if you can prove that she lost a job promotion or her job in general for spreading the false information, that’s when it gets into that territory. Just having bad rumors, sadly not enough for the courts to be able to put a price on it.

            1. fposte*

              Though a drug OD rumor might be sufficient to be defamation per se, requiring no damages. It’s just that it’ll still cost you a ton to litigate and won’t get you much.

          3. Kit*

            She can if she doesn’t name the person. It’s called a “blind item”, gossip columns used to run them all the time, basically its a rumour that they can’t verify but they want to print it anyways.

      2. Ra94*

        It’s not libel or defamation if she’s not naming the boss or very clearly identifying her. It sounds like OP only knows who it refers to because a) she knows the coworker and b) she knows the boss; I really doubt this would reach any threshold for public identification.

        1. pancakes*

          If they’re in the US that’s not correct. From the EFF guide to online defamation: “To state a defamation claim, the person claiming defamation need not be mentioned by name—the plaintiff only needs to be reasonably identifiable.”

          It isn’t helpful to speculate on whether the boss in this letter might have a solid claim, knowing that we don’t know all the facts.

          1. Ra94*

            Agreed that we don’t have all of the facts, but I did say “by name or very clearly identifying her”, i.e., reasonably identifiable. There’s no way that blogging a private figure without mentioning their name or company could be considered reasonably identifiable.

            1. Anna*

              Except that the OP clearly states it is very easy to identify what company it is and that J writes under her own name, so it wouldn’t actually be difficult to figure out who J is talking about. If it takes less than 15 minutes to track it all down, I think that would meet the bar of reasonably identifiable.

            2. pancakes*

              I don’t see any reason to believe you’re speaking from in-depth knowledge of case law on this subject, and even as you’re acknowledging that you don’t have all the facts you’re continuing to speculate as to how litigation would play out. A silly thing to do.

        2. cmcinnyc*

          True. But HR won’t find it funny and the company can let her go even if the actual offense falls way short of illegal.

    5. Buttons*

      She is free to post whatever she likes, but she also has to be prepared for the consequences of that. If I were in the LW’s position, I would say something like “it is weird that you posted about me 12 times in 3 weeks, and that you had such unkind things to say. In addition to the unkind things you made it look like I was participating in your speculations about our boss, which is untrue. At least now I am aware of what you truly think about me, we can limit our conversations to work. “

    6. mcr-red*

      Yeah, I kinda feel the same way. We all talk about our workplaces/coworkers here under assumed names and not naming the business, how is this any different? You all don’t know who I am or where I work, but if a coworker knew I came here, logged in and read the comments, I’m sure they could figure out which one is me, you know?

      1. Fuzz Frogs*

        But if your coworkers did log in and read comments, and those comments were making fun of them, and they told you that they’d read the comments and were hurt, what would be the reasonable thing to do?

        Whether it’s legal or comparable to things we all do is neither her nor there; it’s the internet, we’re all bitching at some point. But each of us should be aware that if we hurt someone, it is actually on us to fix that hurt, regardless of whether our internet posts felt harmless or justified or [insert reasoning].

        The coworker is using facts about OP as a tool for making her friends laugh, and that is cruel, full stop. Coworker can put her thoughts about OP on a billboard, hire a skywriter, tattoo them on her butt–all of that would probably still be legal, but that doesn’t mean she should do that, or that she shouldn’t have to confront OP’s feelings about it.

      2. Jasnah*

        Sure, and that’s why people do things like obscure details, swap genders, use teapot metaphors, change usernames, etc. so that people DON’T find out they actually hate their workplace/boss/coworker. Because of the consequences for that.

        It reminds me of a poster who was sharing about their direct report in the open threads, and it got more and more negative, to the point where it didn’t seem like they were asking for advice so much as just venting and complaining about them. People said that this seemed mean-spirited, that they wouldn’t like their boss complaining about them to internet strangers, and they dialed it back (or at least I haven’t seen them for a while). Because there are consequences for this sort of thing.

    7. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      If you (generic) have the right to say rude or unkind things about someone, they have the right to say “that hurt. Please stop saying mean things about me.” Freedom of speech does not come with the right to make everyone else pretend that they don’t know, or don’t mind, what you said.

      I would like people to stop prefacing that sort of comment with “I know this will be unpopular, but.” Say your piece, or don’t, but being (un)popular doesn’t make an opinion more or less valid, or novel.

      1. TootsNYC*

        there are legal rights and moral rights.

        They are not always the same. And each “right” is enforced in a different way.

      2. CMart*

        But then the original offending party has the right to respond with “nah, not gonna.” Which would have left the OP in an even more uncomfortable position, IMO.

        1. Anna*

          At that point, the OP has enough to go to HR and let them handle it, because this is the kind of thing most reasonable HR departments would want to know about. The OP gave J a chance to make it right on her own; if she refused, OP no longer has to give J any chances.

    8. MicroManagered*

      I had a similar reaction… J has a right to write a blog about her daily life if she wants. What she has to say might seem funny to a blog reader and incredibly unkind to OP, but I don’t inherently see a problem with having the blog.

      I think the mistake was for J to show OP *anything* from that blog, at the risk of her going and reading it, which is exactly what happened.

      1. Jadelyn*

        Yeah – you just don’t cross the streams, not ever, in any way. If you want to share a funny gif, you download it to your phone and text it, completely separate from the blog you got it from. If you want to share a funny text post, copy and paste it into an email. If you let that door open even a crack, there will be people like the OP who choose to go seek out more information. And personally, I feel like that’s on them for making the choice to go look up the blog and read it later.

      2. Ra94*

        Yeah, I think that’s what makes this a valid workplace issue. J was the one that brought the blog into the ‘workplace realm’ by showing it to OP; it would be the same if she linked her to a comment she’d left on Ask a Manager, and right below that was a rant from her same username about OP’s juice cleanse. So OP has every right to confront J and go to HR, if necessary, because J brought this issue to her. It would be different if OP had, say, snooped on J’s phone and seen the blog, or something like that.

        1. MicroManagered*

          and go to HR

          Nooooooo no no no! She has zero standing to go HR, in my mind. I agree with Jadelyn who points out that, J did not say “oh here read my blog.” OP made the choice to find and dig through the blog, even after realizing it must be J’s personal blog. That’s not an HR issue. That’s a J and OP issue. I’m all for OP mentioning it to J, who did show her the blog. But an attempt to put J’s job in jeopardy for something in her personal space that OP found by accident/a deliberate choice to go looking? Major overreach to go to HR, in my opinion. J made a crack about a juice cleanse that only OP would recognize. It’s not like J has a blog in which OP is identified, dedicated to inspiring readers to harass her.

            1. MicroManagered*

              I’m not ignoring it… but I interpreted it as J making a joke along the lines of “the boss must’ve taken an extra ambien last night” or something, as opposed to “I think the boss is an opioid addict” or something more serious. I could be wrong on that? But the part about the boss ODing when they went home sick didn’t really make sense to me so I figured we were hearing it through the lens of OP being very offended/hurt.

              And even *if* J blogged about thinking her boss was abusing prescription drugs–so long as boss and company are not readily identifiable to an outsider–I still don’t see an HR-level problem. And I think we have to account for the fact that OP knew she was reading J’s personal blog, and knows where J works. You or I may not be able to identify the people or company involved if we read it, and I think that’s a major distinction. My answer changes completely if the individuals or company is reasonably identified by an outsider.

              1. Anna*

                Nahhhh. HR would want to know. It creates a bad work environment and HR has every reason to want to keep that to a minimum.

                1. MicroManagered*

                  Do you work in HR? I don’t, but I work very closely with HR people in a large organization. I talk to Labor Relations quite a bit. And nahhhhh, they don’t care about personal disputes like this. They care about things that are illegal and open the company to legal risk. I promise you that “I found J’s anonymous blog and she said a mean thing about me” is not on their list. ‘Least not in my world!

              2. pancakes*

                Every aspect of your “interpretation” of the overdose remarks is speculation, though. Of course you could be wrong about it, it’s all guesswork! There’s no reason to assume, based on the letter, that it was a lighthearted joke. There’s no reason to believe the letter writer exaggerated it due to feeling offended, either.

          1. Ra94*

            Well, I said go to HR ‘if necessary’- i.e. if talking to J goes badly, or J gets defensive, etc. But I disagree with your references to OP ‘digging’ through the blog, or ‘going looking’, which makes it sound like she was snooping. J sent her the blog! A publication available to anyone, which isn’t password-protected or only visible to certain users, but which is fully publicly available.

            1. Micromanagered*

              Well I never said “snooping” (and that was deliberate) because it is publicly available and J did share something from the blog with OP. So it’s not like OP picked the lock on her diary.

              But I still think what OP read was the result of her own deliberate choice to seek it out. (Remembering the url, visiting it later, etc.) I’m not saying OP was wrong to do that, or that I wouldn’t absolutely do it in her shoes! But I would not feel right about going to HR about something I did bring on myself in a way.

              1. Not Me*

                Reading the blog was her own choice. What she read in the blog written by J was J’s choice. OP has the right to be offended and the boss probably would be pretty upset too if they knew what was being said about them.

                1. Micromanagered*

                  Absolutely! My comments pertain specifically to whether OP’s offense at J’s blog is an issue for HR.

                2. Lunita*

                  How did OP bring it on herself? The blog was obviously publicly available and J has already alerted OP to its presence. This also isn’t one instance of J making a crack about cleanse; OP says there were a series of negative comments. I don’t know if Hr would be my first step but I don’t think OP would be out of line going there especially since it seems that J is pretty two-faced, pretending to like OP and then publicly ridiculing her.

            2. EventPlannerGal*

              She didn’t send her the blog, though, as in send her the link.

              “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”

              She showed the OP something she’d reblogged on her phone or computer screen, and the OP caught sight of the username, later recalled it, looked it up and found the posts. To me, that’s something that doesn’t quite count as snooping but is sort of borderline.

              1. Anna*

                Bullshit. It’s available on the Internet. It’s not snooping to see a link and then go looking for it. Holy crap, y’all have some weird definitions of snooping. And there seems to be a bizarre need to blame the OP for finding out someone was being a jerk about her. Hi! If you’re being a jerk, and someone finds out through accessing publicly available words that you publicly posted? You’re still the jerk.

                1. EventPlannerGal*

                  I agree that this coworker was being a jerk. I said it doesn’t count as snooping. I said that the coworker did not *send* the OP a link to the blog, which is what is being claimed – the OP remembered the username, took it upon themselves to go looking for the blog out of curiosity, and didn’t like what they found. It happens.

    9. Jadelyn*

      Yeah, I’m kinda coming down on this side of it. The fact remains that OP specifically went digging, and if you don’t like what you find when you go poking around in someone’s personal spaces, it doesn’t mean you’re in the right to demand they take down whatever it was – it just means, don’t go digging if you’re not sure what you’ll find. The coworker showed OP *one thing*. That’s not a blanket invitation to “please, come in and read everything on my blog”.

      Like, was it careless of the coworker to give the OP enough that OP could go find the rest? Yes. But the coworker didn’t show OP the whole blog, just one piece of it. OP made the choice to go look for the rest of it.

      1. LCL*

        Someone else’s space online, if it is set up so others can access it, may be personal but it is not private. Looking at material there, if you came by the access honestly, is fine. And yeah, I thought that’s why people used blogs, so other people could read them. It’s not an invitation because an invitation isn’t needed. OP made the choice to look, but that doesn’t change that OPs coworker is a POS.

        1. Vanellope*

          That’s where I fall as well, the fact that she posted all of this online and did not make her blog private was the invitation.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          People “dig” around on the internet all the time. It’s not reasonable to assume that no one would ever find J’s blog. It’s a public space.

      2. Oranges*

        To me it’s the same as blowing off steam in a restaurant/park/etc. You don’t do it. You never know who’s listening.

        Blogs aren’t private. If you go to a particular cafe and complain about your job and someone from your job just happened to be there. Welp, sucks to be you. You complain in private since only there do you have control over who hears it.

        1. Jasnah*

          This is how I feel. It’s like if OP overheard her coworker complaining about her in a restaurant. Yes it wasn’t directed to her face but J had no right to expect privacy there, especially after she showed her the link! That’s like telling someone about your favorite bar and then complaining about that person at that bar.

      3. Queen of the File*

        I don’t think how she found the (public!) information has any bearing on how she is allowed to react to it. It’s sort of like when people find something objectionable like suggestive texts on their partner’s phone. Maybe the person shouldn’t have been looking at their partner’s texts, but it doesn’t erase what they found. It’s two separate issues.

      4. Lunita*

        Sure OP made a choice to look at the blog but I don’t count it as a “personal space” because it’s public. Obviously J can write whatever mean things they want, but all at the risk that the OP would find out. And it’s not like OP even looked up the blog randomly; OP was informed of it by J. If you don’t want coworkers angry at what you say, don’t say it in a public forum and definitely don’t make it easy to identify them.

    10. Anonomoose*

      Yeah, free speech is sort of irrelevant here, as it’s not a protected class of free speech. Means that, while it’s not a criminal offense, there’s nothing to stop her employer firing mean blog person over it

      1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        As usual, XKCD has covered this. (Number 1357 for those who can’t wait for the link.)

        1. SebbyGrrl*

          Thank you! Now I know where I’ll be internetting for the next few days.

          And I also, I find having a good counter argument for stuff like this challenging, this kind of stuff is so helpful!

    11. Combinatorialist*

      How does J have the right to say what she likes but it is a “step too far” to ask her to take it down? The OP isn’t the secret police, and can’t make J take it down but just as J has the right to say it, OP has the right to call her out on it, say it upset her, and ask her to take it down. It is just as much “fair game” for OP to do that than for J to write about OP in the first place

    12. Czhorat*

      “do you have the right to” means more than “do you have the LEGAL right to”.

      What the co-worker did is not ethical. Whether or not it’s legal, it isn’t OK.

    13. Jennifer*

      Agreed. It’s understandable that the OP is hurt. It sucks because she thought that she really liked her, and I think it’s pretty messed up that it seems J was only pretending to like her to get material for her followers. At the same time, she’s far from the only person to complain about a coworker anonymously. I think some people who are the subject of letters to AAM would be hurt if they found out, not to mention if they read all of the comments.

      It was foolish of J to show her the blog without thinking that she would see it

      1. Lissa*

        Yeah. I DO see the distinction between writing in to AAM for advice. But I do NOT see the distinction between the mean blog, and some of the “continuing sagas” from the open threads that involve a cast of characters – very often people are writing mean/unkind things about coworkers in there! how is it any different if everyone is using fake names?

        Definitely foolish to show the blog to anyone at work though. Heck if she hadn’t done that it would be even LESS likely to cause issues than writing on AAM, a pretty well known blog.

    14. Anon for this, colleagues read here*

      I have a report in my personnel file about the joking negative post I made about my job on Facebook. I should not have done it, it was a momentary lapse of judgment, and a colleague (the one I now know is called “the snake” by the rest of the department) reported it to my manager. I did not mention anyone by name, I did not name my employer. It would not be hard to figure out, however. I took the post down immediately, but my manager said it was going in my file in case I did anything like that again. My manager also stated that I would be fired if it happened again. I say only happy fun stuff about my employer now, my facebook friend group is very very small, and I make no public posts about anything.

      So. Yeah. She can say what she likes. But plenty of employers will respond: if you’re saying this stuff, you are not working here.

      1. ClashRunner*

        I had a similar experience in a previous position. It was an admittedly poor choice on my part. But I’m still very salty about the whole episode, because someone who was not in any way my superior took it upon themselves to basically tattle on me to my boss and HR; scold me in person and via email; and brought it up in a meeting where my previous, unpleasant boss was present. I was fortunate to not report to either the tattletale or the old boss when it happened, because they both pushed very hard for me to be fired immediately based on this singular incident.

        Thankfully it “only” resulted in a note in my file and a warning of the Three Strikes variety (in seven years this was one and only). But it was an important lesson on the realities of social media…and trusting colleagues.

      2. Human Embodiment of the 100 Emoji*

        Yikes. I think this is some dystopian-level control over your personal social media accounts, unless you personally represent your company online. I can’t believe your company punished you rather than the coworker who literally tattled on you.

      3. pancakes*

        You don’t think you’re taking a needless risk by repeating the nickname here knowing that your colleagues read this site? You could tell this story without mentioning the nickname and it wouldn’t detract from the point of it.

      1. Ann Onymous*

        I was thinking the same thing! She even made it into Urban Dictionary, so it’s not as though the idea of being fired for blogging about work is something far out and hard to understand.

    1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      This is exactly what I thought. I had an analogous situation with a college friend (back before blogs were a thing, so it was a journal instead). Our whole friendship turned out to be a nasty psychological game. I’m not saying that’s absolutely what happened here, but I think it is a distinct possibility.

  5. Anonomoose*

    I’d not bother with her, but just go to HR/manager. The gossip bit would mean I’d want to get my version of events in in case the blog came to light, and I’m way more concerned with protecting myself from fallout than covering for someone’s stupidity.

    1. Should Have Been a Mermaid*

      This is what I was thinking, because it’s possible the blog violates a company policy about confidentiality or nondisclosure. Most employers are okay with their employees blogging, but if they blog about work it can cross a line.

      1. Anonomoose*

        Yeah… it’s also a bit of covering for my own established on the AAM post on pettiness, I’m petty enough to be mentioned at the top of the thread. I’d probably otherwise spend the next several days loudly chewing things, whistling, cracking knuckles etc around her, until she eventually snapped. At which point, my response would be “oh, I’m sorry…I just wanted to give you some material for your blog”

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This would be my point of discussion. I’d want the boss to know I did not say what I was accused of online. I am not too worried about a person who interferes with my ability to keep my own job.

  6. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Yuck! I still recall the time that someone who was training me for a position, told me about the time this kind of thing happened to her. It was actually an assistant that was blogging about her and also the company itself. The assistant was fired, needless to say. How awkward and uncomfortable to be put in that situation. At least you know she’s a snake, that’s what I’d take out of it. That’s so Mean Girls status.

    1. Anna*

      Literally happened to coworkers of my friend and it wasn’t even a blog post. It was a Slack chat that someone else saw and reported it. Both people were fired. Blowing off steam is not horrible; how you go about it is important, though.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Both people? Like were there a couple people in the slack chat doing it? Or was the person who reported it fired? Or was the person being talked about fired because they had reason to talk and therefore, cut them both loose?

        I agree completely. Everyone does it. It’s about discretion for the most part and how/what you say in the end. I mean yeah, I’m not firing someone for going “Oh cool, you’re on a juice cleanse, Jules! Sounds cool, good luck.” then going “LOL She’s on one of those fads again. Oh well, such is Jules.” But if they’re like really going in hard. All “Juice cleanse? ***** she’s fat as f**** and is gonna need more than a juice cleanse to save herself, what a joke, blah blah blah blah blah for daaaaaaaaaays.” Gurl, that’s toxic behavior and harassment/bullying/bad vibes at very best, keep it in the group texts that don’t involve anyone you work with.

  7. That Girl From Quinn's House*

    One additional tip: If you’re ever in a situation like this, gather screenshots and printouts BEFORE you speak to the person. That way if they take it down, you still have proof.

    1. Liar Liar Pants Dracarys*

      Also submit to the Wayback Machine so even if she takes the posts down, they’re still preserved.

      1. pleaset*

        I don’t understand. If the stuff is offensive to someone, why should that same person put it into the Wayback Machine which will keep it online foreverish?

        1. Liar Liar Pants Dracarys*

          Leverage, maybe. Proof of being a crap person. Consequenses of being a crap person. Nothing goes away forever these days. Sometimes a reminder of that will foster better choices in the future.

          Also, I’m so glad I went to college before the internet and digital everything.

  8. Liar Liar Pants Dracarys*

    Gotta say, I disagree with the advice Allison gave. The overdose thing alone is worth taking to HR. I’d make sure all posts are captured on the Wayback Machine, as well as taking screenshots of each. The screenshots, once saved, I’d print and deliver to HR.

    Then, because I’m petty, I’d comment on one of the blog posts. Nothing scathing, just something to let her know she’s not sly. “Hey, remember that time you showed me that gif you reblogged and didn’t consider that I’d remember your URL and then come here to read everything you’ve written about me? Good times. See you at work tomorrow!”

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This reminds me of the time on LiveJournal when someone responded to a post with “You forgot I had LiveJournal too, Karen.” That was classic.

        1. Amber T*

          Dear lord that was like a car crash… I wanted to stop reading but I couldn’t. And just when I thought it was over…

          That was hilarious.

        2. Liar Liar Pants Dracarys*

          Oh holy holy. That was the most amusing rabbit hole I’ve gone down in a very long time!! Way harsh, Ashlee.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            I “was there” and had to re-live it. It’s been 9 years, the internet, man.

    2. ManagerInTO*

      I disagree strongly as well. This is a termination-worthy offence anywhere I have ever worked. If one of my employees did this, I would terminate them immediately. It shows a complete lack of judgement and discretion.

  9. Prairie*

    “J, I read your blog and I feel like a celebrity with all those posts about me. Glad I can bring some intrigue to your life.” …or any combination of words that acknowledge that her life must be boring as heck if she’s writing about a coworker so much.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      In this case, I wouldn’t encourage OP to engage in a manner that leaves any ambiguity about what she’s asking for (that it be taken down and the coworker refrain from blogging about her). My concern with a snarky comment like this is that it almost sounds like OP thinks it’s a joke and approves of the blog when that’s not the case. For someone like this (the blogger, not OP), a direct, “I saw it, it makes me uncomfortable, please take it down and knock it off.” ensures that the message is clear and, if it does end up in HR, the blogging coworker isn’t like, “But OP told me she was flattered and felt like a celebrity!”.

  10. Mean Girls*

    I would be petty about this, and take a tab from mean girls on this. I would make copies of the blog (make sure its obvious it is hers) and highlight where she talks about the boss and other people in the office (put their name in pen out to the side) and leave a copy highlighted on everyone but her desk in the office and send a copy to HR, and wait for the fallout. I also would quit talking to her about anything other than work, and take phone calls away from my desk.

    1. fposte*

      The thing is, that would make it look *more* like you’re somebody whose exploits are worth blogging about. You want to control the message, not just satisfy yourself with what feels like a score.

    2. imperial.haniver*

      This is actually way weirder and worse than writing a blog you don’t reasonably expect anyone from work to see?

  11. SoHappyItsThursday*

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the blogger takes offense that her “privacy” was somehow violated. (insert eyeroll here) I stumbled on a former in-law’s blog (thankfully divorced out of the family now!) once where lots of nastiness was shared, some of it about me. She became furious that I’d dared to read her blog because I should have known it was private. Because yeah. Putting things on the WORLD WIDE FREAKING WEB is a great way to keep things private.

    1. Buttons*

      Yeah, she is definitely the type of person who is going to be so upset that her privacy was invaded and that LW tracked her down. She is going to turn this whole thing around on the LW.

    2. Jadelyn*

      By that logic, it’s totally cool to walk up to someone having a personal conversation in the park and just hang out and listen to their conversation for awhile, maybe offer your own advice. Hey, they decided to talk in a public place, that’s on them, right?

      People still get to have boundaries, even on the internet.

      1. Ra94*

        Nah, but J was the one that brought the blog into the workspace by sending a post to OP. This is more like someone inviting you for a chat in the park, and then gossiping about you loudly when you step aside for a moment.

      2. LCL*

        A blog isn’t the same as a conversation. Conversations may occur in a blog, but a blog is a public thing. (Except for those that vet their readership in some way.)

        1. Jadelyn*

          If a conversation occurs in a public space, technically it’s also a “public thing” in that sense.

      3. Myrin*

        I think the better analogy would be to walk up to someone giving a speech and just hang out and listen to what they’re saying, which is an okay thing to do as long as you don’t break down a locked door or similar to get there.

        I’m choosing that analogy because like a speech, a publicly accessible blog is meant to be read. Of course some people use it as some kind of diary, but if that diary isn’t meant to be at least hypothetically entertaining to virtual strangers but just for them themselves, they generally lock it. Same with if it’s only meant for a certain audience.
        (Also, just as a general observation, social rules online are often different from social rules offline. I can follow someone on tumblr if I think what they’re doing is neat and I want to be alerted to everything else they do on tumblr. I can decidely not follow someone who I think is neat in real life just because I want to be alerted to everything they do.)

        I also think the analogy isn’t the best because when you’re in public having a personal conversation, there usually are measures to make that conversation less public – you’ll speak in a low tone of voice, be facing towards each other, turn your back towards outsiders. This is, as far as I’m aware, not something you can do online. If you wish to do so, you’d need to resort to measures which are truly (more or less, at least) private, like email or a messenging app or whatever.

      4. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        That’s like comparing apples to oranges. I’m really tired of the “it’s private” defense when something is posted online. OP didn’t break in to a private account. She read a blog that was posted for all to see.

        1. Ra94*

          Exactly. People seem to be blurring the line between blog and social media, which aren’t really the same thing. Posts on a closed Facebook or Twitter account would seem different here, because those are communications to a set number of friends who you allow to follow you. An open blog is just…wide open.

          1. Oranges*

            Even on FB… that’s more public than most think. If I need to vent, I’m gonna text.

            1. Ra94*

              Oh yeah, in my industry, it’s not unheard of for prospective employers to demand access to private FB/Twitter/Insta accounts as part of their hiring checks. (On principle, I would probably say I didn’t use social media, since I’m un-searchable, because I think it’s way too invasive.) But I’d never post something I wouldn’t be okay with an employer or family member seeing on *any* social media.

  12. esra*

    Man, as much as I’d like to say you can be clever in the moment, there’s my garbage gift question right there in the similar posts section and there aren’t a lot of like, basic etiquettes for dealing with people without any class or shame.

    Alison’s point (and it’s good advice) that’s helped me is when you’re in this kind of situation, you didn’t bring the awkward, the other person did, so return that right back to sender.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      That post you ID as yours totally horrified me. Are you willing or able to share an update?

      1. esra*

        Ah for sure, I can’t believe it was only four years ago because it feels like a hundred. I gave a later-that-day update:

        But more broadly: I bailed so hard on that job before the year contract was up. The horrible, hilariously awful manager who led the “gift” reacted super badly, completely freaking out, and then on my last day started gushing and tearily gave hugs. It was so weird. She is still working there, and the two nice coworkers have moved on to bigger and much better. Like this mean tumblr coworker, I think most of awful work people are just either super sad with their own lives and taking it out on others, reveling in the minutest amount of power tiny-Napoleon style, or some combination of the two.

        1. CatCat*

          The horrible, hilariously awful manager who led the “gift” reacted super badly, completely freaking out…

          “I am so surprised at this behavior, ” said no one who read the original post.

          Glad you bailed and are away from that weirdo.

    2. Buttons*

      Can you give us an update on what happened? When I read your letter I don’t even get the joke. What about it was supposed to be funny? Joke gifts are funny because they usually reference an inside joke or nickname or something.

        1. esra*

          The best joke was all the negative Glassdoor reviews after four of us left in rapid succession (which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when your company only has like 20-odd employees…).

  13. Bree*

    One time I had a co-worker I thought I was fairly close to – when she started, I went out of my way to be welcoming to her. We often went on walks together at lunch. She was pregnant and I was recently engaged, so we talked a lot about our personal lives and our families. I’m also queer, and my fiancee was another woman. She never made any indication at all that this was a problem for her.

    A couple months later, I moved on to another job and added her on Facebook so we could keep in touch. Apparently, she belongs to a particularly conservative church, and she regularly posted about LGBTQ* people burning in hell, etc. It was really alarming, and felt like a pretty serious betrayal.

    I did send a message to her saying I was surprised to see those posts, considering how friendly and close we had been. She never responded, and we haven’t spoken since, but I’ll see her name pop up from time to time and it still hurts.

    1. DaffyDuck*

      Yeah, I had a “friend” who made a big deal about her evangelical beliefs in person. Unfortunately, after friending her on FB I found they include the “bad things happen to other people because God is punishing them”. I called her out about one that bashed folks who were hurt/killed due to a weather event. We are no longer friends.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Argh this happened to a friend recently as well. I thought it was bad enough I had to lowkey disown assorted extended family members over the years of similar BS.

  14. Dennis*

    I’m not confrontational in the slightest but I would take great pleasure in stating, directly, that I’ve read the blog and am shocked that this individual would post such things publicly.

    Several years back I had a friend who had a similar blog and posted about their family members and dating prospects. It was another attempt to be funny and snarky online but it really just comes across and meanspirited and, frankly, pathetic.

  15. anon this time*

    I definitely dislike pseudoscience, but look at how this isn’t even an attempt at steering someone toward evidence-based healthcare. It’s just being a bully, especially if that was one post of a whole lot.

  16. Hello!*

    I guess on a positive note this isn’t a “He said, she said” situation? I would make sure you take screenshots of the blog posts and such to ensure that you have proof in case she does end up making it password protected or takes it down. This could escalate into retaliation, and it is always best to have proof.

    In addition, I am not sure if this is the case in other workplaces, but we are strongly encouraged to go to HR informally prior to any significant action (for example, I went to HR each time a coworker harassed me while I was handling it between the two of us so our HR had a record of his/my actions). I just have found it is helpful so you aren’t going to HR saying “Well this is what I found out 7 months ago, I did something at some point in the month of February.” But that could just be the norm in my work.

  17. BadWolf*

    PSA: When we tell people to start looking at their difficult workplace like they’re an Anthropologist doing field research in order to save their sanity…you shouldn’t publish your “findings’ on the internet.

    (Not that I think OP is in the category of “difficult workplace characters”)

  18. can't think of a name*

    Wait, can someone clarify for me why Alison’s advice wasn’t to go straight to a manager or HR? 12 posts in 3 weeks, including one about the bos, is so out of line. I would forever have concerns that my teammate/coworker didn’t have my back, and could even sabotage some of my work. I’d want that clarified and covered with the company.

    1. Megasaurusus*

      I’ve been a long time reader of the blog and Alison consistently encourages people to directly speak to people before going over their heads to bosses or HR. In other posts she’s indicated that it’s just the polite thing to do – but beyond that in nearly all situations, it’s the mature and professional thing to do.

      The ability to communicate clearly and directly with others in the workplace is an underworked muscle for most people. Relying on subtly, hints, and complaining to others (even when valid) before bringing it up directly and openly to the individual is a large part of why our collective work-spaces are so dysfunctional and weird. In most situations, the person causing a disturbance needs to be aware of it and have the chance to make changes, and amends if necessary.

      Additionally, individuals come in with their side of the story, opening a dialog gives the other party the chance to contribute their side – though not as likely in this scenario – in many scenarios, it’s possible to have made a mistake in judgement and you’d look pretty silly to HR and management once the full story come story comes to light.

      People are conflict-adverse, and rightly so, but the alternative isn’t going over someone’s head to a boss or HR, it’s opening a dialog with the individual to englage your view of the situation, gather data, try to find compromise, and then if necessary reaching out for 3rd party assistance.

  19. Amethystmoon*

    This is why you shouldn’t blog about your job, or if you do blog, make sure to do it absolutely anonymously and never, ever share anything related to that site to anyone who works at your company or even has worked there in the past, because it’s too risky that the sharing could come back to haunt you. Also never directly name anyone or the company, call people by pseudonyms such as “Cottage Cheese,” and so forth. Or hey, there’s always Game of Thrones. :)

    1. Curmudgeon in California*

      If I blog or tweet about my job, it’s always with pseudonyms like $Job and $CoWorker1, with sparse or munged details. Too many people have been burned by not doing that.

  20. Yvette*

    Sadly, I don’t think this person will care unless they are concerned with repercussion from what was written about the boss.

  21. Jennifer*

    I wouldn’t have said anything, but I would have taken a step back from our work friendship. Most of us never find out what people really think about them. You were given a gift in a way. You know she can’t be trusted.

    If she asks why I seemed cold, then I’d tell her I saw the blog and leave it at that.

  22. Linzava*

    While reading this, when the OP said she didn’t know what to do, I automatically thought of the scene in Mean Girls where Regina walked through the school, throwing about copies of the slam book everywhere. My evils side kinda hopes OP does that.

  23. imperial.haniver*

    Don’t we all complain about our coworkers? I don’t pretend to be friends with the ones I don’t like, but I’ve certainly complained about mine on my private, locked Twitter account. I’ve also read horrible things about me on my coworker’s Twitter account that I assume she thinks we don’t know about (she thinks the reason I can’t understand her instructions is because I’m a liberal, I think it’s because they’re usually poorly written on incomplete). I didn’t go to HR or talk to her about it, I just figured, “Eh, so her Twitter followers think I’m stupid, but they don’t know me and therefore it doesn’t matter.” I think I’m failing to see why this is such a huge deal, but it may just be that I selfishly don’t want to give up telling my 20 Twitter followers about how much my coworkers can annoy me.

    1. anon4this*

      Some people don’t like to see cruel things written about them in writing. Online. “Forever”. Especially if the person writing them is coworker who acts friendly to you and you didn’t expect it.
      It’s cool your above it all or whatever, but I’m doubting that’s most people.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s just the fact people have different reactions to things and both reactions are acceptable in the end.

      I laugh when people say things like you’ve described. I find it hilarious, then again I also laugh at a lot of things that people think are big deals and would lose sleep over. That’s my defense mechanism and what keeps me going along. I mean I wouldn’t be where I am if I wasted my limited f**ks to give.

    3. slightly anon for this*

      The comments on this particular column have been very interesting because, you’re right, a lot of us do complain about our coworkers. Several prominent members of the commentariat built their reputation here at AAM on dramatic and detailed descriptions of their workplaces and coworkers. And one of the oldest regular commenters had a blog about her personal life that was very popular here and people were legitimately upset on her behalf when the people she was writing about found out and she had to ‘go dark’ for a bit.

      I mean, nobody likes reading negative things about themselves on the internet but… *shrugs* Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, you know?

      1. Oranges*

        My rule is: if you write things that could get you ID’d in real life, you need to think if it’s worth it. That person who had to ‘go dark’ took that risk. I assume we’re all adults and can do our own risk/reward calculation. It bit her in the butt somewhat but she chose to do it.

      2. Arctic*

        I definitely feel for the OP but there is definitely more than a little bit of hypocrisy at the outrage on this particular website. People have their own mini-columns complaining about their co-workers and work on the work related weekly threads. And this is a very public and well known site.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          I think the difference is the anonymity. My colleagues aren’t going to know who I am because my username here doesn’t link to my real life identity so if they read something I say on this site, even if they recognize the situation, it’s unlikely they can figure out or prove it was me. In this particular situation, the OP was made aware of the existence of the blog due to the writer, was easily able to identify the situation, and from what was said in another comment, the blog was connected to the writer’s RL identity.

        2. Myrin*

          This blog and its comment threads have a very different audience, reach, and volume compared to a personal tumblr account.

          There are usually at least 200 comments on each of the three daily main posts and over a thousand on both the work and weekend open threads. Even if I post ten comments on every single one of these, my comments aren’t going to amount to 10% of this website’s content (a number the OP gave in the original thread of how much the posts about her made up of the blog’s entire content) – the OP’s situation feels much more “targeted”, for lack of a better word.

          Of course it’s possible for people on here to behave in the open threads like they would on a personal blog (there definitely are people who regularly tell stories about the same people) – but even then, because of the sheer number of commenters and stories and names and situations, it’s much less likely that someone would recognise themselves (again, in the open thread – it’s much more likely (and has indeed happened a few times in the past) to find yourself the topic of one of the standalone posts Alison publishes).
          With many regular posters, someone who’s determined enough might actually specifically search for this poster’s comments and might even be able to get a somewhat clear picture of their situation, but that’s a lot more effort than simply following someone who very regularly serves stories of annoyance and ridicule of the same few people. (Heck, I’ve even followed people’s stories in the open threads here, knowing their usernames and key words and all, and then it still took me quite some searching to actually find an update or something because they’d posted irregularly or used a different name or whatnot. That is hardly going to happen on a personal blog.)

          I also don’t think the “outrage” is necessarily directed at the fact that J posted unflattering things about OP on her blog – it’s that she didn’t think to maybe not give the OP any idea at all that she has a tumblr, much less give her an opportunity to find out that tumblr’s URL, and, above all, that OP thought they had a friendly and warm relationship.

      3. EventPlannerGal*

        I agree. I’m honestly very surprised at the reaction here for exactly the reasons you mention – I mean, “posting under a pseudonym about a coworker’s ridiculous juice diet” with commenters laughing and asking for updates sounds basically exactly like the Friday open thread.

      4. Close Bracket*

        “Several prominent members of the commentariat built their reputation here at AAM on dramatic and detailed descriptions of their workplaces and coworkers.”

        I do hope that those commentors are not pretending to be friends with those workers before coming here and giving those dramatic and detailed descriptions. Venting is one thing; two-faced hypocrisy is another. Venting is hurtful to read. Finding out the person you thought you were friends with is actually mocking you is a whole other level of hurtful.

        1. Washed Out Data Analyst*

          Yep. This. OP’s issue is more the interpersonal aspect than the blog aspect (unless the blog is not very anonymous.)

    4. Exexpat*

      One thing that jumped out to me about your situation compared to the one OP describes is that your twitter account is locked and presumably couldn’t be turned up by an idle google. I don’t think coworkers always have to like each other, or even always say nice things about each other online, but if someone airs dirty laundry out in the open people will find it and maybe they won’t let it roll off their backs so easily.

    5. Close Bracket*

      Part of the huge deal is that OP *does* (or rather, did) like her coworker and thought they were genuinely friends. It’s a huge betrayal to find out that the person you thought you were friends with is making fun of you on the regular behind your back. The fact that it was a blog means there is a particular set of ramifications specific to putting things in writing on the internet, but it would still be hurtful to find out that, say, her coworker had been saying these things during her weekly sleepovers with friends. Furthermore, the coworker wasn’t just complaining about work stuff like instructions. She was making fun of OP for the way she lives her life that have no effect whatsoever on work—and this is after being friendly with OP about it! If this is the kind of thing you do on twitter, please rethink that.

    6. Maya Elena*

      I wouldn’t put my trust in the privacy of a Twitter account, in case someone in your circle with a penchant for tattling sees it, screen-shots something out of context, and shares it, and the public (and HR?) decides that what to you seemed like an innocent complaint – or okay, a mildly rude one – is in fact worthy of an internet-wide pillory, summary firing, or industry blacklist.

  24. CAinUK*

    Fantasy response:

    SCENE: all-staff meeting in conference room, with large screen connected to laptop.
    OP: Says something funny, then pauses to say “Oh, I hope that doesn’t end up on your blog about all of us, J!”
    J and staff: confused looks
    OP: “Oh, did all of you not know that J has a blog mocking some of us and telling everyone that Boss has a prescription pill problem? I just didn’t want to be the subject of another post, since she’s already written about me a dozen times this month. But its fun reading, here I’ll pull it up!” *projects blog to big screen*

    In reality Alison’s advice is spot-on, although I agree with others that I’d tip off HR about her comments on the boss + pills, since if the company is identifiable they’d want to know.

  25. staceyizme*

    I could be wrong but this strikes me as hostile, sufficiently so that printing out the blog entries, bringing them to HR and management and letting them sort it out sounds reasonable. It’s bullying and the fact that it wasn’t intended for your eyes does nothing to make it less egregious. It’s above your pay grade and you simply should not have to deal with the fallout directly. In some places, this could be sufficient reason to terminate. It opens up all kinds of negative potential exposure for the company and since it’s an identifiable source that leads back to you, your boss and the company, it’s not something that can be overlooked.

  26. gront*

    Okay, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I’ve been in a similar situation, but in my case I was J, not the OP. (I wasn’t writing a blog, but I was posting on a public forum about a slightly strange/annoying coworker.) In my case it really was mostly to blow off steam – my coworker had some weird habits but was generally a nice/well-meaning person. One day, my coworker caught wind of the forum that I was frequenting, and out of curiosity he visited it himself, only to find the posts I’d been making about him. One day he had an angry reaction to a light-hearted joke I made in the office, and after talking to him about it I found out he’d seen my posts. I was mortified, and had a private conversation with him to apologize (and I deleted the posts I could find that mentioned him), but I felt like the damage had been done. I ended up leaving the job shortly after this.

    However, I have to ask – the blog I’m commenting on right now (Ask A Manager) features many, many letters from people complaining about/making fun of their crazy coworkers, and the comments are full of people complaining about their own coworkers in similar fashion. I have to ask – are the letter-writers and commenters also “jerks”, as Alison describes J in the original letter? After all, they/we are all complaining online about people we work with. Is it just the degree of anonymity that separates jerk from non-jerk? I’d love to hear people’s thoughts about this.

    1. gront*

      I just read the comment by imperial.haniver and the responses to it, and they mostly cover my questions. I guess it’s really the anonymity that matters. Turns out I shouldn’t have been going to that forum while at work, where my coworkers could notice!

    2. Washed Out Data Analyst*

      Good question. I rant about people all the time here, too. I think anonymity is a huge part of the occasion. I also think what makes what J is doing reeally shady is that she seems to be a two-face – purposefully befriending the OP and using what they share in confidence against her on the Internet. I imagine a lot of people ranting about annoying coworkers aren’t going out of their way to befriend the annoying person (not including general politeness and cordial-ness). Also, people complaining about their coworkers in the letters to Alison are also looking for a solution, not just trying to ridicule the person.

    3. pancakes*

      Jerkiness is so often in the eye of the beholder, and there are so many different ways of complaining about co-workers and such a wide range of potentially hurtful behavior. I don’t think it’s possible to generalize sensibly. In your instance, it sounds like there’s a disconnect between your jokes about your co-worker being “light-hearted” and you being “mortified” when they were discovered, deleting them, and leaving the job. Your response strongly suggests the jokes weren’t in fact light-hearted.

    4. Perpal*

      I really try not to complain about my coworkers/loved ones/friends/family/etc ANYWHERE. With my luck it will somehow get back to them (as a kid I once tried making fun of “the weird kid” to a new friend… who turned out to be his sister. lesson learned).
      If I’m genuinely looking for advice on something, I will try to do that in the proper framing. But vent about people I want to stay on good terms with? Nope, not a good idea, also probably not the best cognitive behavioral strategy either.

  27. Human Embodiment of the 100 Emoji*

    I feel like we’re not getting enough information from this letter to accurately judge the situation. Implying one’s boss is OD’ing if there’s no real evidence of that, and showing OP a blog she clearly didn’t want her to see were both horrible judgement on J’s part. But I think the true severity of the situation is dependent on information we probably can’t get because it would be identifying, and more information about whether or not OP is a reliable narrator of the events.

    Is J being malicious and openly hostile, especially towards OP as a protected class? Is she just relaying information about her strange coworker in the same way that we do every day on this site (aka “can you believe coworker is taking up half the fridge with her juice cleanse now/believes crystals have magical healing powers/insert other strange beliefs or actions”)? Or is OP in some ways not the best coworker (with the amount J is posting about her, of course, OP would have to be not the best coworker in a Big Way for this to make sense) and J feels the need to vent because OP is making her job harder? All three of these scenarios would need very different responses, and I’m surprised to see so many people on here taking such a hard line, especially because we vent about coworkers on here with semi-identifying details all. the. time.

    1. Former Employee*

      When you publicly comment that your boss who went home early because of a medical condition really left because she OD’d and you use your own name, making both the company and the boss identifiable, that is potentially something that can turn into a lawsuit (libel/defamation). That goes way beyond venting and should be reported to the manager. No one knows how many people read J’s blog, who they are or in what positions they are employed or where. The manager may have been interviewing for a job with XYZ Corp and the Hiring Manager’s assistant read the blog and alerted them to the “fact” that someone they are thinking of hiring has a drug problem!

      This is very different from someone writing to AAM about their co-worker who talks all day or interrupts them while they are on the phone, or any of the many annoyances that come up when you work with other people. Those kinds of situations could be about a hundred different workplaces. Frankly, the specific ones, such as where a prank went horribly wrong, are so egregious that any of the perpetrators wouldn’t dare come forward to protest because they would be confirming that they are the awful person who pulled the terrible prank.

  28. Broomcupboard*

    OP could get a copy of Harriet the Spy, highlight the chapter of reactions from Harriet’s schoolmates when they find her spy diary in which she talks about them, and leave it on her desk.

  29. AuroraTraum*

    Oof, this is my first year college roommate experience!

    This was back in the days of LiveJournal and at the end of the year my roommate posted a rant about how horrible a roommate I was for the entire year on her journal which she knew I followed. She had never talked to me about any of her issues before, so I was pretty upset and didn’t sleep in our room that night. The following day she posted a new post about how I “could have slept in the room that night, it wasn’t like [she] would smother me in my sleep.” After talking with my father and my RA, I let my roommate talk at me (I just stood there and let her rant) and then took out her trash for her (one of the things she was upset about was that I didn’t throw out the trash, 99% of which was hers).

    As it was only a few weeks until the end of the semester and school year, I just played ghost to my room and studied in the computer labs and library on campus.

    In an interesting bit of luck (?) she was my resident for all of one day the next year. On the first day of classes she came into my room, handed me her key, and said she’d be back for her stuff on Thursday; she was dropping out of school and going home. Never saw her again.

    1. kitryan*

      My first year in college, I showed a friend in my dorm a group blog that a high school friend had set up for our group to keep in touch. This was in the late ’90s so blogging was pretty new (I’m not sure it was even called that yet). My new friend thought that it was pretty cool so he started his own blog. Of course, he’d told me about it so I knew the site location and all. After a month or so he posted about having a crush on me. There is no way he didn’t know I would see it.
      I never mentioned it, as I didn’t feel the same way, and we grew apart after a while when we weren’t in the same dorm next year.
      Everything worked out for the best though. Coincidentally, senior year, my off campus apartment turned out to be across the hall from his girlfriend’s. They made a much better couple than we would have made.

  30. Fake letter*

    This letter is fake. Someone on Getoffmyinternets mounted a campaign against the person venting about a coworker constantly commenting about bodies, food and weight and wrote in this fake letter to try to “teach a lesson” to the personal blog/journal writer. I know because it was me they decided to harass for being tired of a disordered environment.

    1. Perpal*

      … what? you were harassed for a disordered environment, but somehow got a harassment campaign about complaining about bodies, even though you hadn’t complained about bodies, because…? I still don’t understand what the original blog was about that triggered a harassment campaign?

      I mean, I’m sorry you were harassed this just doesn’t really make sense to me

  31. Kisses*

    At the risk of sounding a bit nutty, I was a bit freaked out to see this article- I was sure I had read it a few weeks ago while digging!
    Glad to find out it’s a reprint.

  32. Not true*

    This letter was not written by someone seeking real advice. It was written by someone who wanted to doxx the blog writer. Getoffmyinternets had a forum where people discussed bloggers they didn’t like and they decided to go after the person. This wasn’t written by J.’s co-worker. It was written by someone attempting to doxx the blog writer. The person in the original letter comments was also pretending to be the OP/the co-worker. Psycho. Also, the blog wasn’t about the co-worker. It was a very locked down personal lifestyle blog with like 80 followers. The person discussed a toxic work environment that included constant talk of bodies, food intake and comments about weight. And the “drug overdose” was someone having a common, known issue with Ambien.

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