Use and Abuse of Social Media (excerpted from BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Hostile Emails, Personal Attacks and Social Media Meltdowns)

© 2011 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

Facebook and other social media offer the opportunity to communicate with many people at once. In many ways, this can be a good thing. However, it also offers every single one of someone’s “Facebook Friends” a chance to see his or her comments and respond to them immediately for all to see – including Blamespeak! And there’s a lot of it in today’s social media.

The original poster may have posted something completely innocuous, but the HCP (high conflict person) responds in the form of a personal attack – usually in just a few short sentences or even just one sentence. Then it can be all out war between the two, and almost every time the “Facebook Friends” get involved. People who don’t even know each other join in. All of this happens very quickly and escalates rapidly.

Many people today, especially in high school, are using such social media to bully and destroy others. This gives mean girls and boys unlimited power to attack their peers – more than ever before. A BIFF Response® can clear up the whole thing or start to de-escalate it. The more that people use BIFF responses® on the Internet, the more the HCPs will stand out as being the exception rather than the norm.

People can learn to catch themselves and respond with BIFFs – or not respond at all. As explained above, the amygdalas in our right brains can get emotionally hooked, but we can override the fear and anger responses by practicing reasonable responses like BIFFs. A friend using social media can step in at any time and give a BIFF, and reduce the conflict – rather than getting emotionally hooked and adding to the Blamespeak. As people learn more about HCPs, they may be less likely to want to act like one.

Learn more about high conflict people, BIFF, and conflict resolution by visiting our website:

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.

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