There are a number of types of pain on Facebook:
a. When your friends share their pain.
This may be for any number of reasons – some of them quite innocent and genuine. It is a mechanism for many that lets off steam – for others it is a way to gather some form of comfort. Both of these are laudable motives.
React as you will – be kind if you can.
b. When your friends share someone else’s pain.
This can be just as genuine but a little more problematical
You are being asked to see a representation of an emotion or circumstance at second hand. It may again be genuine or it may be a ploy to catch your support for some political or religious movement. Be a little more critical with this one than with [ a. } above.
c. When your friends share a painful opinion and then add a comment.
Here we are moving into pub argument territory…and we may not be able to move out of it. In some cases the Facebook mechanism that allows you to stop seeing a post, snooze a poster, or report some heinous message, is disabled. You are forced to see the thing and the subsequent replies but you cannot remove it from your feed. And each time it garners another comment it repeats.
This is the equivalent of force-feeding geese to get foie gras. If it is a constant feature of your on-line friendship, you may have to consider severing that link. An awkward thing to do, but there it is.
d. When your friends cause pain.
Well, that divides up into unintentional – which you can ignore, or intentional – which you can punish. One foot on your toe is a misfortune, two is a nuisance, and three is a habit.
e. When you cause your friends pain.
Again, if unintentional, apologise. If unavoidable, explain. If deliberate, howl with glee and make obscene gestures.