Dear Amy: I am in my 60s and have known “Sue” for more than 40 years.
Over the years, Sue has made several negative comments about some of my Facebook posts. For instance, one time I posted that I was sick. She called me to ask why I would put such a thing on FB. Another involved a joke that she didn’t think was funny.
Eventually I changed privacy settings so she couldn’t see my posts.
We also both belong to a school alumni Facebook group. Within the last few months she has criticized a couple of my comments to others in that group.
Neither of these comments had anything to do with her. In one, I commiserated with an alumni friend who talked about his shyness by noting that my son is also shy. I provided no other details. Sue reamed me out for “gossiping” about my son.
Sue refused to stop lecturing me, and I ended up telling her how angry I was about her intrusiveness and criticism.
I have never told Sue – or anyone else – what they should or shouldn’t post, and I have never received negative feedback from anyone else.
I realize that Facebook is not private, but are there any rules concerning critiquing the posts of others? – One Less Friend
Dear One Less: The rules governing Facebook are the same rules that govern all human interchange: Understand that anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of public (or private) opinion.
Picture your FB alumni group as if you were all standing together at a cocktail party. Would you commiserate with a friend about his shyness, and mention your son’s similar challenges to the group? You probably would.
In that context, would “Sue” chastise you in front of others (or at all) concerning your benign choice to share? She probably wouldn’t.
Social media can facilitate lovely and compassionate kindness – inspiring people to be brave in their sharing and supportive in their responses. Social media also emboldens people to be mouthy, obnoxious and combative.
A wise person is as discreet and aware on social media as they are in real life.
And then there’s “Sue.” She called you out, she wouldn’t leave you alone and now you are no longer “friends” – in real life or online.
If you choose to critique her, do so privately.
Dear Amy: Cellphones give us the ability to make phone calls from any room in the house.
Although we have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, den and a living-dining room, my husband, without asking if I mind, makes personal phone calls in my presence.
When he does, I am unable to watch TV, make my own phone calls, whatever.
I really am not interested in hearing one side of his phone calls (or both sides, for that matter).
I have asked him to make calls away from me. It’s just easier to take the phone in another room than it is to take the TV into another room.
Am I wrong to dislike this immensely? Is there something I can say to persuade him to make his calls in another room? Please advise. – Don’t Want to Hear It
Dear Don’t Want: Taking a call while in the presence of others is one thing. (When doing so, it is polite to say, “Oh, this is Kevin from work; do you mind if I take it?”) Then you take your phone to a quiet place where you can concentrate on the call, and not bother others.
There is no justification for making a call in front of other people, certainly in a large house where there are many places to perch. That’s. Just. Rude.
It is also tough to concentrate on a phone conversation where there are other noisy distractions. So why would your husband do this in front of the TV?
If your husband decides to make a call while you are both in the television room, first ask him, “Hey, honey, could you do that in the other room?” If he refuses, you would be justified in turning up the sound on the television so that you could continue to hear it.
Dear Amy: You gave “Befuddled” an idea for how to divide family belongings after her death.
I’ve been through this and have decided that things are just that – things. I won’t let someone else’s greed, etc., ruin any relationship. It’s not worth it.
You never see a U-Haul following a hearse. – Ann
Dear Ann: Wise.
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