The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female job-hopping, part-time worker in my 20s. I stopped socializing with my friends about a year ago, but still can’t get over the sorrow.
It all started when one of the members of the group acted in a way to alienate me. I was so hurt, I posted on social media that I felt sad, although I didn’t mean to direct it to anyone in particular. The relationship with this friend began to deteriorate at that point.
After some time, I thought of contacting another member of the group to celebrate her birthday. I found out that they had gone out to dine together — without inviting me — and posted a photograph of the occasion on a networking site. Shattered, I erased their contact info and cut ties with them.
But I’m still shedding tears, wondering what I should have done. It’s not a topic on which I would seek advice from my family.
I’m now in a crucial stage in life, trying to take steps to realize my dream. I know there’s no use crying over spilt milk. Could you kindly give me an encouraging word?
R, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. R:
I’m a classic example of someone who’s never really tried to communicate via social media. But while I may not have the capacity to fully understand the delicate layers of emotions drifting in cyberspace, I think I can identify your concern as a ubiquitous issue regarding friendships.
Frankly, I think you were right to sever ties with these people — I wouldn’t call them “friends” at all.
I’m saying this because it started with her acting in a way to alienate you. You were hurt tremendously. You are apparently the victim in this case.
I don’t think your other friends were that thoughtful either; they all alienated you together, insulting you. I’m sure they could have assumed you would see the post on the networking site at some point.
I would define this as an example of group bullying. Is there any particular reason to stay friends with such people?