Is it completely inappropriate to ask my best friend to stop inviting people I don't ever want to see again (read: exes) to parties she's hosting? I get that when it's a mass Facebook invite, it's too much to ask that certain people be excluded for my sake, but when the event invite list is already selective, not inviting people she's not that close to, and who will just make things uncomfortable for me, doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.
What you could really benefit from, in this scenario, is a Land Before Time-type seismic shift in the Earth, such that your exes are all on one side of the ravine and you and your friends are on the other. That way your friend couldn’t even invite them to your Great Valley parties if she wanted to, first because they can’t cross the ravine, and second because they will later be eaten by Sharptooths. Do you think you could have something like that arranged? I’ll see if I can pull some strings.
You are mostly right when you say that your request might be too much to ask for mass Facebook invites, though I think a really good best friend would carefully go through and unselect exes in that case too. You’re absolutely right that it is not much of a stretch for your BEST FRIEND, who you say isn’t even close to these exes, to not Facebook invite them (or invite them at all) to smaller parties. I am of the opinion that best friends are supposed to treat your bad exes as though they are dead. You can’t invite dead people to your parties unless you want to make your other guests anxious and a little grossed out.
Keeping hurt feelings inside ourselves has never helped any of us — you need to talk to your best friend to make sure she knows how her actions are affecting you. The next time she’s having a party, ask her if she wouldn’t mind skipping invites for your exes. Tell her that their presence makes it harder for you to do what you want, which is have fun with her and your friends at her parties. If she’s resistant, ask her how she’d feel if you did the same thing. Forcibly pick her up, put her in your shoes, and make her walk a mile in them. She should get it. If she doesn’t, she just isn’t being a very good best friend.
What's the number of tweets that is acceptable per day?
As it has been repeatedly pointed out to me, in various comments and tweets responding to my columns (which are inarguably accurate and certainly never exaggerated): people can do what they want with their Twitter accounts, their Facebook accounts, and their Instagram accounts. This is a “free country,” despite my best efforts to the contrary. If someone tweets too much for you, you should probably just unfollow that person. Sure, whatever. Ugh.
If we’re not talking about what you are legally and technically ALLOWED to do, and are instead talking about best and most effective social media practices, which we are, then you should, on average, tweet no more than ten times a day. Exceptions are granted for mini-rants (like several tweets made in quick succession to argue the same point or theme) and for exceptionally good hashtag games, which are RARE. Or if you’re just really funny one day, knock yourself out then, too! This is a soft rule, but for most of us tweeters — we who are neither comedians, nor whistleblowers, nor Justin Biebers — the public isn’t going to care enough about us to hear a whole lot more than ten thoughts a day. Plus, people don’t usually get unfollowed for only delivering a small handful of solid jokes and observations over a couple of days; they get unfollowed for clogging up timelines. Less is more.
If you're working and IMing, what are the rules with how fast you respond to other's IMs, dealing with going away — is it okay to let convos drop suddenly? Keeping up all my separate IMs continuously would be its own full time job.
It is sort of unclear to me why IMing continuously all day ISN’T its own full time job. It requires so much: the ability to work independently, attention to detail, organization, time management, advanced written and language comprehension skills — in other words, basically all the bullshit key terms I’ve used in every last cover letter I’ve ever written. And how many of those jobs were as rewarding as holding down four separate, daylong G-chatting sessions with my friends? Not even one! This country, sometimes. Honestly.
The important thing to remember is that if you’re IMing with someone between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm and it is a weekday, that person is probably working. If you’re G-chatting with that person, you have to expect momentary lapses and even the occasional drop-off in conversation. You, letter-writer, do not need to feel bad about that. You just keep doing your best. You should give people warnings whenever you can (“hey just FYI I have a meeting in 10 mins” or “there’s cake in the kitchen, my return time is unknowable”) and apologize the next day if you DO get cut off unexpectedly, but there’s only so much you can do. You’re at work!
That being said, it is well within your IMing partner’s rights to type entire missives at you when you are not responding, so that your IM tab keeps flashing and flashing until you cannot ignore it any longer. It is also within that person’s rights to eventually get to the point where she’s really just talking to herself AT you, and you will have to just deal with it and leave that window open for her sake. G-chat, much like life, leaves some of us alone before we are ready. Ahh, sorry. I did not mean for that to get so depressing. Carry on! I’ll just be over here, lying on the floor.
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 writer and volunteer text message analyst living in Minneapolis. She thinks you should have good manners, even on the internet.
Illustration by Cara Vandermey