How Your Friends Gamble With Your Reputation: 3 Ways to Protect Yourself

Your friends are great. You love them. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be friends with them. And when you’re with them, things can get crazy. But that crazy behavior is reserved for them. Sometimes, though, they want to share the stories, and who can blame them? After all, the stories are pretty awesome. They’re funny. They’re colorful. They’re embarrassing. (Okay. Not for me. I’d never do anything embarrassing; I’m perfect, right? Right? . . . Why do I hear crickets?)

But what if you don’t want those stories shared?

Hopefully your friends won’t purposely set out to embarrass you online. And a real friend certainly won’t try to get anyone to think less of you. (If your friends are intentionally sabotaging your reputation, rethink the friendships.) This means that, if they know you don’t want something shared, they probably won’t share it. So let them know.

  1. Posting Photos
    Young woman passed out drunk next to a telephone pole on the side of the road. Beside her is a cooler. Two friends stand near her trying to figure out what to do with her.
    Make sure your friends know that you don’t want them posting pictures of you anywhere online without your permission. That way they know that there are plenty of pictures that can be posted of memory-making moments, but they also know you get the final say-so in any pics that you’re in. Photos that seem oh-so-funny at the Friday night party might not seem so funny to a potential client or employer, to your parents or your kids. If your friends do post compromising photos and won’t take them down, try to at least get them to remove any tags or references to your name.
  2. Posting on Your Wall
    Be careful about what gets posted to your threads, walls, streams, etc. If your friends post inflammatory remarks on your wall or tagged with your name, it can look like you agree. Even if you know your friends are being sarcastic or playing devil’s advocate, someone stumbling across the posts won’t. If you need to, adjust your settings so that certain posts don’t show up on your wall.
  3. Text of an embarrassing facebook post: Hi, this is so-and-so's mom. I wanted to let all of you know that he is no longer allowed on facebook due to the choices he made today. He posted on facebook personal information about someone, that regardless if it was true or not, Because he chose to try to make her mad by spreading personal information, I thought he should know how it feels when the tables are turned. He wet the bed until he was 8.

  4. Posting About You
    Are your friends gossiping? Are they laughing about how you got falling-down drunk when you were at the bars last night, or how you got in a fight or went home with someone you just met? Again, these types of postings can look bad to clients and employers, to your parents or your kids, or to anyone else who doesn’t know you well. If there is anyone you wouldn’t want to know whatever your friends are saying about you, ask them not to post about it. And if they just have to talk about that crazy thing you did, ask them not to use your name.

Remember, anything posted online, regardless of the privacy settings, has the potential of being shared. Ask your friends to refrain from posting anything that makes you look bad.

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