When To Facebook Message Your Ex Instead Of Calling

Well, if you’re asking for a favor.

My ex and I went on vacation together. He is a photographer and took 99% of the pictures. Though it was a great trip together, we broke up the day after we got back. While we were in the process of getting belongings back to each other, I asked for the pictures and he told me it wouldn’t be a problem. He didn’t give them to me right away, so I waited a month and sent a Facebook message. No response. Now it’s two months later, and though I don’t care about the pictures of us as a couple, I would really like to have the pictures of the experience. Is it unreasonable for me to want these? Is there any method you would suggest to get them?

Yours would not be the first ex to decide, on second thought, that he DOESN’T really want to do his former girlfriend that favor he promised earlier on, before it occurred to him to be righteously indignant. You know? There’s something about the idea of doing something for someone you broke up with that, for a lot of people, for a certain period of time, makes you want to go, “Are you fucking KIDDING ME? Hell. No.” It just feels good to refuse to be of any help.

And maybe that isn’t fair, especially in cases like yours where you WERE promised something. But that’s just part of the deal, I think. You don’t always get everything you wanted back.

You can send one more request to your ex, by Facebook or email or whatever’s easiest for you both that is NOT calling, but if he doesn’t respond to that one, you’re going to have to let those beautiful tainted vacation pictures go. They’re his. You don’t have a lot of leverage here, I’m afraid.

A friend of mine took a screenshot of a (nonsexual, but still something I don’t want kept) Snapchat I sent them. What do I do?

Go back in time and don’t send it? Go back in time and make better friends/be born to better family members? Go back in time and be born a vampire that can’t be seen in Snaps anyway? Be born a vapor, or an abstract concept.

Sincerely: This is a bullshit problem — and I mean because it happens and not because it’s bullshit for you to be irritated by the inevitable (though it’s not NOT a little of that too). We SHOULD be able to send people we know and care about things without worrying about how they could be used in a way we don’t like. There isn’t any reason to keep a picture of someone you care about if the picture’s subject hates it, except out of pure meanness and a desire to exercise some petty control over that person. This happens so often — in Snapchat, but in Facebook photo tagging and Instagram too — and I do NOT get it. You might like a picture or think it’s funny, but if you do not wish to be a total dickhead about it, you’ll delete it if the subject asks. We’re all prone to sensitivity about how we look, OK? Give each other a break.

So. Ask your friend, the next time you see him/her, if he or she will delete the screenshot because you don’t like it and/or think it’s embarrassing, and that’s just what you’d prefer. (Text if you must but these kinds of discussions are always better had in person!) If your so-called friend refuses, or laughs it off, or tells you you’re being too delicate, please refer them to my previous paragraph, and tell them I said, “You’re an asshole.”

What do you do about extremely enthusiastic Facebook commentors? I have one friend (the fiancé of a close friend) and one family member (my mom) in mind. No matter what I post, no matter how little it SHOULD interest them, they will say SOMETHING about it. What do I do? Just grin and bear it? Or is there a polite way to say, “Hey, maybe show some discretion instead of commenting on everything that comes up on your newsfeed?” Wait, should I just say that?

I suppose it is pretty rich for me, who every week tells people what they can and can’t do on Facebook, to tell you that you can’t tell people what to do on Facebook…but here we are. No, you should not tell your overeager Facebook commenters to “show some discretion.” If any of us showed any discretion whatsoever, we would not have Facebook.

And as much as I love the idea of sitting quiet and wide-eyed in a corner of whichever room you tell your mom and your friend’s fiancé that they have to stop Facebook commenting in, eating a snack and just seeing what everyone says to each other, that is not a conversation that is going to go anywhere, much less make anything better. The only way you can ever tell someone she talks too much is after you’ve been her best friend for at least five years — and you’ve figured out exactly the right way to say it so that it seems like a joke but she knows it kind of isn’t. This will never work with a mom or a fiancé of a friend.

The practical solution to your problem (and I’m with you! It’s a totally annoying one!) is to put them on limited view of your profile. This is likely to go more unnoticed with your mom than the friend’s fiancé, but you might be able to cut it down just enough that you’re less inundated and not so much that they notice they’ve been shut out. The more abstract (and less forgiving, on my part) solution is to let this go. PYB. (Remember PYB? I’m still trying to make it happen.) The comments aren’t inappropriate or rude — they’re just too MUCH. But you’re the one posting things publicly in a way that invites feedback, right?

FWD: Halp! is a weekly advice column on how to behave like a person when using technology. Would you like said advice? Email your questions to Katie.

Katie Heaney is a contributing editor at BuzzFeed FWD. She thinks you should have good manners, even on the internet.

Illustration by Cara Vandermey

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