sticks & stones

It goes without saying that in social circles, reputation can be very important.
It’s pleasing to be able to offer references to others (if deemed necessary) when coming into their world to reassure them that you’re good people, whether it’s for public or private events, business or casual. It’s even better when you don’t have to do it yourself, because mutual acquaintances and/or friends are so excited at the prospect of getting so much positive energy into a single space.
What do you do if you’ve had one not so rosy experience with a person, though? Two? Three? 
Would references work the converse way, where you’d warn friends about said person/people? Would it depend on the severity of the experience(s)?

Luckily, I haven’t had very many bad experiences to speak of. 
If I have issues with someone directly, it may take me a moment to vocalize, but I usually attempt to sort them out with the person involved. While I don’t see the harm in kvetching occasionally, I tend not to mention more benign things to friends that aren’t involved unless asked, or unless they build up over time.
However, if I feel that folks I care about could be in danger as a result of interaction with Person X, I’d be inclined to tap them lightly on the shoulder, share my story, and let them draw their own conclusion.
That last bit is vital: let them draw their own conclusion.
It is absolutely not my intention to come across as a pushover of my own agenda, or to make it seem as though my friends can’t take my words with a grain of salt. 
It’s essential, as someone who knows me, that you make use of your own common sense.
My experiences may not be your own. That’s the big hope, actually — your experiences should not mirror my own, especially if mine were negative.

It’s a delicate process, talking about people in general. 
It’s increasingly fragile ground if your primary outlet in which to do so is the internet, which leads to loads of conjecture.
Comments spread like wildfire, so be careful about the matches you choose to ignite, when and where you throw them. The damage is oftentimes irreversible.