Respond to fb warning involving sister's alleged affair ?
June 2, 2013 5:00 PM   Subscribe

How to respond to a facebook warning/possible threat concerning an alleged affair involving my sister?

My sister has been going through some emotional/psychological issues for a couple of years now. She is raising two young children alone (with help from our mother actually) and seems unable to establish healthy relationships. A couple of days ago I got an unpleasant facebook message from a woman I don´t know telling me to warn my sister to leave the sender's husband alone and focus on her children (my nephew and niece) instead, and adding that she will talk to my sister personally.

I live hundreds of miles away from my family, I know very little about the people my sister relates to, yet considering her condition I wouldn´t be too surprised if they weren´t that great. I ignore and am not particularly interested in finding out whether she is having something with a married man. I am, however, concerned about her safety and , especially my mother, nephew and niece's, who are the collateral victims of my sister's instability. My first reaction was to reply to the woman informing her that I have no knowledge about my sister's private life, that I will not pass on any messages, suggest she speak with my sister in private and ask her to please leave the rest of our family out of the situation. Does it make sense? Any other alternative idea? I appreciate your opinions, as they may help clarify some things
posted by Basque13 to Human Relations (26 answers total)
A couple of days ago I got an unpleasant facebook message from a woman I don´t know telling me to warn my sister to leave the sender's husband alone and focus on her children (my nephew and niece) instead, and adding that she will talk to my sister personally. (emphasis mine)

mind your own business and stay out of it.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:02 PM on June 2, 2013 [10 favorites]

Do not respond!! Drama begets drama.
posted by nkknkk at 5:03 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

None of your business! She should've never involved you. You have my permission to just ignore and go on with your life.
posted by fireandthud at 5:05 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would not reply to the sender at all but tell my sister I got a weird fb message from this woman and please be careful and I'm here for you if you need to talk, give kisses to the kids for me.
posted by headnsouth at 5:05 PM on June 2, 2013 [60 favorites]

Absolutely do not respond, and block that woman immediately. No matter what is or is not going on with your sister, sending a stranger a message like that is batshit crazy. No good will come of your getting involved.
posted by rpfields at 5:06 PM on June 2, 2013 [14 favorites]

Ignore. Print out copy of message. Block. Do not ever tell sister or mother or nephew or niece.

If this woman planned to do anything to your sister, she'd already have done it, and nothing you can do will stop her. This woman is trying to stir up drama to rally people to her side, and you don't have to help her.
posted by Etrigan at 5:08 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Forward the message to your sister.
Do not reply to the sender.
Block the sender.

Cross other bridges when you come to them, but don't let the sender force you into being involved more than you are as a sibling living hundreds of miles away.
posted by lampshade at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ditto the above Do Not Responds; with the caveat that if this woman threatened anything physical then still don't respond but do tell your sister and perhaps the police.
posted by easily confused at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2013

I suggest pretending she sent it to the wrong person by mistake.
posted by michaelh at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I feel like if you forward the message on to your sister, you're going to learn more about this situation than you want to know. I also don't think forwarding it will illuminate anything your sister isn't already aware of. If the lady has gone so far as to contact you, I find it hard to imagine a scenario where your sister isn't aware of her crazy existence. I think the lady wants you to tell your sister, so that your sister can feel threatened and more drama can ensue. I would say nothing about it to anyone, but would keep in touch with my sister and family more frequently to hear about things that are going on.
posted by amodelcitizen at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

+1 "do not reply" and "block"
posted by kmennie at 5:21 PM on June 2, 2013

I feel like if you forward the message on to your sister, you're going to learn more about this situation than you want to know.

Let me add to the rationale for not forwarding it to your sister.

This sounds like a combustible situation. Your forwarding it to your sister could cause her to do something rash, or ill-advised, or affect her relationship with you in some unfortunate way. By ignoring it, you minimize the chance that YOU will become a player in this drama which you would likely regret.
posted by Unified Theory at 5:40 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have a friend whose husband is cheating on her, and she's sent e-mails like that to the other woman's family. I don't think she's expecting a response; she's venting and shaming, and not acting as she would in less chaotic times. I advise you to ignore the message.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:48 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Do not reply. Do not engage this woman.
posted by absquatulate at 6:07 PM on June 2, 2013

I wouldn't respond to this woman and I would block her, and then I'd copy and paste and forward her message to your sister with an added note telling her you're there for her if she needs help or someone to talk to in dealing with this. Whether this woman's accusations are true or not, I think your sister has the right to know what's going on.
posted by orange swan at 6:24 PM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm worried the woman is crazy and may hurt your sister and her children. Can you somehow warn your sister? Or bring it to the attention of the local police?
posted by discopolo at 6:34 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hate this kind of response. People usually don't write these messages unless they are true -- there are way more men and women who cheat than weird people who make up stuff just for fun. Especially over the age of 14.

So... I'd take this seriously, and forward it to your sister.
posted by 3491again at 7:18 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

3491again: I feel the need to say that this isn't always the case. I know you said "usually", but I have personally been involved in a case like this where the accusations were unequivocally false. The accusations in this case might be true, or they might not be; we fact of the matter is we don't know and speculating doesn't do anybody any good.

OP, I would encourage you not to think one way or the other about your sister because you got this message; instead, forward it to her with whatever sentiments you'd like to make (as already noted above), and block the accusing person. Help your sister in whatever way she asks, but only if you want to. Do not respond to ANY of the accusatory messages from the accuser. Trust me: it won't help.
posted by absquatulate at 7:49 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you've gotten some good feedback. Rather than add to the chorus, I think it might just be useful to distill it: People are suggesting, and I generally agree, that the question for you to consider isn't whether to respond to the sender, but whether to tell your sister.
posted by cribcage at 8:28 PM on June 2, 2013

Sometimes people read things into situations that aren't actually true.

Don't respond to the woman but do check in on your sister and her kids. If she is going to talk to your sister, you might just let your sister know you're there for her if she needs it.
posted by heyjude at 8:53 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you discuss this with your sister or even forward the note to your sister, you forever damage your relationship with your sister by, at the very least, embarrassing her.

If I were you, I'd stay out of it. Only bad things happen when meddling in someone else's affair.

If you're concerned for your sister's safety, contact the police.
posted by 2oh1 at 9:29 PM on June 2, 2013

If you were your sister, would you want to know about the Facebook message? Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

Just to be clear, you're allowed to forward the message and explain to your sister that you want no further involvement. Not everything is either swim in the drama sea or stay on the sand, you're allowed wade in just far enough to help your sister before leaving the beach.
posted by Shouraku at 9:39 PM on June 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

I had a friend who did this kind of thing after her husband had an affair. It escalated to her going to the children's school and speaking with them without permission. My friend stalked her house. She even sent a package to the woman after she moved to another town in an effort to embarrass her in her new town. After the episode with the children, we staged an intervention of sorts but it wasn't very successful. This was a seemingly normal person, who frankly, went batshit crazy for a while. I would not reply and block her. But I would also tell your sister in a non-judgemental way that you received this weird message so that she can be wary of her and take precautions for her safety and her children's safety.
posted by tamitang at 9:40 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

In case there are more twists and turns, keep a copy of the email and the sender's address and the time stamp. Do not reply - after all, the email may have been meant for someone else with a similar name. How did the sender get your email address?
Do tell your sister in case she should be alert.
posted by Cranberry at 12:18 AM on June 3, 2013

I'm seconding-third-ing-fourthing the above advice.

Keep a screengrab/printout/copy, block the sender and forget about it.
posted by skylar at 1:01 AM on June 3, 2013

I would not tell my sister right away, but I might contact the police in the woman's town if I thought the message implied or directly stated a threat to the welfare of my sister and her children.

Threatening the welfare of children can be a serious thing these days, and this woman sounds way crazier than your sister. Maybe she's just venting, but mentioning your minor niece and nephew in this dispute, real or imagined, was very very unwise.

Seriously, you should fax or forward a copy of the message to law enforcement in the woman's town and see what they have to say.

If the message does not in any way read as a threat, then ignore and block.

If you are unsure if the message is threatening or not, get law enforcement's opinion on the actual message by getting them a copy.
posted by jbenben at 8:28 AM on June 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

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