It’s not unusual for some public officials to openly disagree with each other on a variety of issues. It goes with the territory. But it’s just not smart to use interviews or social media posts to take unnecessary potshots at each other.

Two Houston politicians, Mayor John Whitmire and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, have made it clear there’s no love lost between the two. They are both democrats but they each supported the other’s opponents in recent elections. Working together in the best interests of their constituents has been a challenge. But Whitmire seemed to cross the line when he wrote a social media post saying Hidalgo’s fiancé looked like a nerd. The mayor essentially poured gas on a burning fire, as you’ll see in this video below.

Now, you may believe this isn’t a particularly serious issue. Even so, this public squabble does lead to a serious point that it’s counter-productive to make an unprovoked negative public comment about a rival. It makes you look petty and immature. Given the history between Whitmire and Hildago, Whitmire’s claim that he was trying to be funny sounds insincere at best.

You may not be a politician, but the lesson here holds true for all of us. Don’t make petty public comments about an individual, company or competitor. Such comments will not serve you and may actually hurt your credibility and standing in your community.