I serve on a board with a woman who is older than me, probably in her late fifties. She has sixteen-year-old son. She and I have a friendly, warm relationship, and while we don’t see each other socially, I enjoy her company and we always have a great time talking. Last week, I randomly ended up seeing her son’s Facebook page (someone I know was friends with him, and out of curiosity, I clicked on his page), and it is full of terribly language, derogatory remarks about girls, and other unsavory posts. I know this woman would be horrified. Would you say something to her?
Totally. If you approach it right, she won’t get pissed at you or feel like you were snooping on her son.
“Hey, Sally, the other day I noticed that my friend Frank and your son are friends on Facebook, and it looked from the picture like your son has your beautiful blue eyes, so I clicked on it. He looks so much like you!”
“Thanks, you’re so nice and non-stalkerish, and don’t seem like someone who’s about to meddle in my business.”
“Also, I noticed some pretty colorful language on there! I have no idea what it’s like to have a teenager, but I did read an article in the New York Times the other day about how college admissions offices often Google prospective students. I would hate for him to not get that scholarship to Princeton because of a couple swear words! You might want get him to show you his page.”
“What a good idea! You’re caring for my son’s future, not tattling on him, and you’re also subtly letting me know that instead of asking him about it, I should get him to show me outright, so I can see that not only is he swearing, but he’s saying horrible things about women and acting like a general douchebag. I appreciate your friendship and will definitely not hold this against you in the future.”