On Parting Company

Unfortunately, some relationships come to an end. People drift apart, needs change, or something totally catastrophic happens and one or both parties decide that moving on in separate ways would be for the best.

Even before the internet era, different people responded in different ways. The rare person grieved or celebrated the separation and moved on. Some people found creative outlets to vent their feelings. Others went around and made sure everyone knew what a total jerk the other person was.

With the explosion of social media and the entitlement mindset, that last option has spread like an epidemic of Biblical proportions. People can’t wait to go write a 2-page blog and post demeaning, even vicious comments about a once friend or partner.

These outrages are not limited to the personal relationships. Business relationships can go much the same way, even though most business contracts include statements of ethical conduct standards forbidding badmouthing the company. A major retailer I work for includes the caveat that posting derogatory comments and then taking them down is no good. That only makes sense. Once some comment is anywhere on the net, it’s everywhere on the net.

“What about the freedom of speech? I can post whatever I want, right?”

Well, yes and no. If we’ve signed an agreement, then we voluntarily gave up some of our nights. We can still post what we want, sure, but a signed contract is a legal document, and we could get in hot water if the other person decides to make an issue.

“I’m simply warning others so they avoid the mess I was in.”

Are we? Or are we really just venting some spleen? I’ll admit that it’s possible for someone to be out to protect others, but we need to check ourselves long and hard on that one. I’ve seen many people claim that they were looking out for others but they really just had an axe to grind. They were in revenge mode, not guardian mode.

“They had it coming.”

Maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t. What happened to grace? Sense of common decency? For the majority of us, we would be grateful if we did not get what we really deserved. A little grace and understanding can go a long way.

“I’m not saying anything untrue.”

That may well be, but gossip and rumor need not be false to be damaging. I for one would not like the unvarnished truth publicly spoken about me in some cases. Try as I might, I mess up now and then and so do other people. Wouldn’t we all take offense if the other person wrote a scathing blog or vicious social media posts because we made a mistake?

“I needed to talk through it because I’m so [insert emotion here].”

Understandable, but there’s a big difference between a private message or phone call with a trusted friend and airing the dirty laundry in social media and blogs.

“They started it!”

Pick an idiom:

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Don’t feed trolls.

Both responses work.

Parting ways can be difficult, even when the reason to do so was excellent. Don’t make a bad situation worse by giving in to the temptation to lambaste the other party on the web. Yes, we may feel better when it’s all over, and we might succeed in dousing the other person with verbal mud, but mud splatters, and the diatribe will reflect poorly on us.

(c) 2008 Isabelle // Downloaded on this date from Flickr creative commons

(c) 2008 Isabelle // Downloaded on 3/13/15 from Flickr creative commons


2 thoughts on “On Parting Company

  1. Your words are wise. As I come to the bitter end of an important relationship, I am tempted to complain and tell bad stories about the situation all over the place. But when someone hurts you, especially when they hurt you beyond repair, forgiveness is critical for your own healing. I choose to forgive whether the other wants it or not because it helps me.


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