Ask Jules: Co-workers make snide comments about my social media presence


Hi Jules: How do I set a boundary at work that my social media isn’t a topic for discussion? I’ve built a small following and have been receiving a bit of PR. My co-workers like to bring it up and lately have been making snide remarks about it.

M.: You effectively set boundaries by being crystal clear: “I want to maintain a separation between work and social media.” You don’t need to further explain yourself; just use concise messaging that shows you’re unapologetic about drawing that line.

The co-workers making snide comments seem to be uncomfortable with how you’re expressing yourself on social media and in turn are trying to make you feel inferior. Instead of matching their energy, avoid engaging with their negativity and focus on your own tasks and goals. Even if your co-workers try to excuse their snide comments by suggesting you’re cringeworthy or embarrassing, it’s important to remember they’re still interested enough to spend their precious time watching your content and commenting on it.

Avoid getting defensive or engaging in back-and-forth dialogue about the topic. They want to provoke a negative reaction out of you, so instead, simple and neutral responses will show that you’re unbothered and unimpressed by their comments. “Yeah.” “Nice.” Or silence.

In a similar situation, I’ve actually removed from my followers lists people who insisted on continuously expressing negative judgment. Being given insight into your life is a privilege, and you can easily boot them out if they’re not respectful of your boundaries.

You have every right to set boundaries with your colleagues — even the ones who are supportive. Just use the same approach with lighter messaging: “I want to keep that outside of work, but I really appreciate your interest and support.” This will show that you value your colleagues but that you also value your own privacy and autonomy.

If co-workers continue to cross your boundaries, you may need to take additional steps to enforce them. This could be talking to a supervisor or HR representative. I would consider this to be a last resort though, as it could inadvertently open the door for your supervisor or HR representative to also pay more attention to that part of your life.

Overall, don’t complicate things. Say what you mean and keep it moving.

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