I dislike talking on the phone and prefer texting. What's the proper way to convey my preference when I give my number to someone on a dating site?
OK, OK, here we go. Don’t text people before you meet them! This is firm and resolute and non-negotiable. Texting someone before you meet him or her is just another way for you both to get wrong ideas about each other, and to become consumed with those false ideals before meeting. You’re getting enough of that from messaging alone without introducing the addictive and instantaneous nature of texting into the mix. Ten messages and then you meet.
This, of course, is assuming you’re referring to texting prospective dates before you meet them, which is definitely what it sounds like. So, stop that, obviously. But when you do exchange numbers for the actual meet-ups, this preference doesn’t need to come up. The default for most young people will be to text those few pre-date notes (“I’m here…are you on the way?” “Oh I’m just parking, sorry for being 45 minutes late and afraid of commitment,” etc. I’m just preparing you.) You can bring it up on your date if things are going well and you think this habit might matter going forward. The good news is that I’ve met your kind out in the world. You’ll find them.
The last bit of advice I’d give you is this: try to open your heart to talking on the phone, just a little. A quick-response text conversation lasting more than twenty minutes is insane. Reading curt little notes from someone you like will never be as sweet as hearing the way they say them.
My ex-boyfriend’s Netflix account is still linked to my Wii. I have a new Netflix account and want to … gracefully and quietly … switch my Wii over to my account. Can I break into his Netflix to disable my device from his account without telling or asking him?
First of all, I don’t know if you need to do it this way. Here are instructions for how to change the Netflix account associated with your Wii. I think you can trust them because they come from a website with two Zs in its name. Just know that when my roommate did this a few months ago, it took some time for the Wii to process the change and be ready to start fresh with someone new. Kind of like you and your ex, right? Just be patient, and everything will be okay. In both cases, if things do not improve, call someone at Nintendo.
Let’s say, though, that this WAS the way to change your Netflix account. You are asking if it is okay to break into an ex’s online account for a custody issue that benefits him, in a way that does not (really) invade his privacy. In this VERY specific scenario, I actually think this is okay. You may never break into an ex’s email or Facebook, because 1) it can’t NOT be invasive, and 2) you and I both know you don’t have that kind of self-control. For Netflix, or a similar service/site, though: the way I see it, you’re minimizing harm, especially if you and the ex are trying not to speak to each other. There isn’t a discussion to be had — you’re simply insisting that you pay for your own movies and TV shows. (If you call him for this, you know the call won’t end up being just about Netflix.) It’s the right thing to do and it’s fine to just get it taken care of quickly and on the sly.
If, in this hypothetical, he notices what you did, then at least he'll know it’s time to change his password. Don’t give your girlfriends and boyfriends the passwords to all your shit, everyone! The least you can do is use common sense and change those passwords when you two break up. Otherwise, just look what can happen.
I'm a writer, and sometimes, when a piece of mine will get a lot of play on the internet, friends/acquaintances/distant relatives/people I haven't talked to in 2 years/etc. post the piece on Facebook and say something like, "This is such a great article from XXX," and tag me. Humblebrag, I know, but whatever. My question is: how should I respond to this?
A weird and unnerving thing has happened to my position on this issue: It has changed. It sort of went like this: I was at one extreme of the issue (that tagging people in posts is strange and a little desperate); then I thought carefully about the issue from all angles; and then I moderated my views. It was like getting more information made me realize that I might not always be right about everything from the start. I hated it.
My original position came from the fact that a lot of people who aren’t willing to post directly on your wall seem to be willing to tag you in posts on THEIR walls, and I do think the result can be a bit of over-familiarity. (But then, this IS Facebook.) The thing is, though, that when people tag you in posts you created, they are doing you a favor. They are making sure that everyone who sees the post (both on their walls and yours) sees your name at the top. Even if not all of their friends read your piece, they will probably see your name, and some of them will remember that. In this career, that is crucial.
So what you should do, letter-writer, is thank them. You don’t have to go to their walls, and you don’t even have to send them messages (though it certainly wouldn’t hurt!). You can simply write some variant of “thanks!” in a comment underneath. Though it isn’t quite as polite, you can even just “like” the post. I used to think that came off as self-involved, but I’ve slowly come to decide that people will know what you mean by that “like,” and that it’s perfectly fine. … Aghgh, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
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