“My friend runs a friendship group on Facebook and she’s constantly worrying about people from another group trying to infiltrate it.
She started it because she was thrown out of the other group for trying to organise a get-together. The woman who ran it wanted to be involved with everything.
“Now she thinks that woman is jealous because the new group is so popular, and that she is sending ‘spies’ to find out what she’s up to.
Many other people from the original group have left to join the new one, and it’s hard for my friend to know which ones are genuine.
“We’ve offered to help but although she says she wants help, she never takes any of us up on the offer.
She keeps finding excuses for not getting together to try and sort it, and when we put questions to her in the messages group that we have, she glosses over them.
“When we do manage to pin her down, she just makes excuses and says we didn’t understand her and that she’s not worried about ‘spies’ at all and everything’s fine.
We get so frustrated for her, but we love the group and want to help.”
“It’s great that you want to help and as the group grows, I’m sure she will need to involve others to keep it going smoothly.
For now though, it’s her baby, and whilst she wants and may even need help, she’s reluctant to let anyone else take care of it.
“She sounds a little paranoid, to be honest – running a friendship group through Facebook doesn’t exactly sound like something worth spying on.
What is she trying to hide from the woman who threw her out of the original group? Would it really matter if there were ‘spies’ – what would they find out?
“You don’t say if your friend is a friend you meet in person or someone who you know through social media.
If you know her in person, then think of other ways you can support her – for a start, call and see her when you can – she may appreciate the offer of a shared cup of coffee sometimes.
Maybe suggest the two of you go for a walk together – getting out in the air can help anxiety.
“If you only know her through her online presence. you may not know what insecurities she’s trying to cover.
You can try reassuring her that there’s nothing to hide, so why does it matter if people try to infiltrate the group.
You can certainly encourage her to put some strict rules in place for the group around data protection; things shared within the group shouldn’t be shared outside it, for a start.
“Perhaps you could put together a small group of the original group members to support her by monitoring new members and reporting back to her, so that she doesn’t have to do that by herself.
“If the new group is more popular than the old one then presumably, in time, it will cease to matter about this woman and her ‘spies’.
I would gently point out to he, though, that by trying to monitor and control everything, she is sounding rather like the person who runs the group she was thrown out of!”
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