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The Cutest And Most Annoying Problem On Facebook

It's great when your family loves you on Facebook, right? Eh.

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My father-in-law recently joined the world of Facebook. He sent me a friend request, which I accepted (mistake #1), and now he comments on or “likes” ALL of my posts. It might not be so bad if he weren’t so … verbose. It has gotten to the point where I have had to put him on my restricted list, but he continues to do this same thing to my mother and even my sibling’s pictures/posts. He has also become suspicious of never being able to see my posts – how do I gracefully tell him that he’s been blocked?

This is both the cutest and the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard of, which I imagine is part of your problem. I know you know you shouldn’t have done it, but why did you accept his friend request?? Whyyyyyy? You’re too nice. You are the nicest person. And that’s going to make it hard to do what I think you should (maybe, if you want to!) do, which is this: unfriend your father-in-law.

OK, just hear me out on this. You’ve already restricted him, which would have been my suggested first step, but that’s not taking care of the problem. (And we both know it’s not a “problem” in a serious way, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate for you to be bothered. Facebook isn’t like your home, or some other place where your father-in-law just probably gets to be because he’s your father-in-law. It’s FACEBOOK! It’s your tiny internet kingdom, the only one you can control.) And I think any conversation you could have with him that a) explained why he’s restricted and b) asked him to change would be WAY more awkward and potentially hurtful than it’s worth.

That’s why unfriending is the way to go. He’ll notice, and he’ll ask you or your husband about it, and here’s what you’ll say: “Oh, yeah, I was spending waaayyy too much time on Facebook, so I cut back my friend list to just a handful of friends from high school/college/[whatever circle makes the most sense here] to keep in touch. But don’t worry, I’ll still update you if I take any new pictures where your son is actually smiling!” or some cute familial joke like that. He really shouldn’t fight you on that. If he does … write me back.

I'm in an on and off relationship with someone at work, and when we're not at work, he takes hours or days to respond to my texts and calls. Yet when we're at work, he drops everything the second he gets a phone call or text from anyone. And no, there are no life threatening emergencies in his personal life. How can I be ok to watch him be so attentive to everyone except for me?

You can’t.

You’ve given me three red flags here that, when added together, form a red flag so big you could wrap your body in it, climb up a hill, hold the pointy tip of the flag to your chest, and roll down the hill so that the flag unfurls behind you as you roll, leaving an enormous red triangle in your wake. When you get to the bottom of the hill and are just lying there, it will look like the flag is an arrow pointing at you. But I promise that’s just a coincidence.

The biggest warning sign you’ve given me is his predilection for ignoring you, especially given what you know of his normal MO regarding phone use. But the other, not-insignificant problems are that he is a) your coworker and b) your coworker with whom you have, at BEST, a complicated relationship. I don’t believe in on and off relationships that end in on-ness. If, after this column goes up, I get emails about relationships that started this way and ended in eternal happiness, I will delete them and move forward, my opinion unchanged. It’s a phenomenon that just isn’t real enough to believe in for yourself. I’m especially sure this is true because, to top it all off, he isn’t even responding to your texts and calls in a timely fashion. People like that belong in the garbage.

Someone who wants to talk to you and who respects you and loves you will text you and call you back as soon as humanly possible. I know there are PUAs who would probably say otherwise, but I am not sure when anyone decided PUAs were worth listening to on any issue except what hats not to wear. If I were you, I would stop texting and calling this guy, and then I’d buy a small stuffed animal, and then I’d watch the episode of The O.C. when Seth tells Summer it’s always been her, and then I would move on, ever in search of the texting partner best suited to my needs and fears and hopes and dreams. Or at least one that responds. Whatever, we're not asking for a lot.

Am I too picky or elitist for ignoring messages from strangers--such as from OkCupid or from a Craigslist sale ad--with rampant grammatical errors?

If you are ignoring people who want to buy your old crap just because they wrote “your” instead of “you’re,” I’d say you might want to rethink that. Money is money, unless the person sending you the offer literally tells you he stole it or earned it selling bath salts or something. In which case it is actually still money, but maybe not money you personally would like to knowingly accept? Look, it’s your business. I just wouldn’t turn down a buyer ONLY because you don’t like the way she puts a sentence together.

Dating, on the other hand, is an area in which I am on the record as stridently PRO near-baseless eliminations. You’re looking for someone to spend years of your one and only (probably) life with. I mean, that’s crazy! That person better be good. Cut the chaff wherever you can, as far as I’m concerned. If you don’t like people with bad grammar (though on OkCupid, is there any other kind?), you don’t have to start pretending to like them. It’s okay to just like whomever you like, as long as you’re aware of it and know that you’re limiting your pool. Who likes enormous pools anyway? Not me. Too scary.

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

Senior Editor, Ghost Hunter, Ufologist

Contact Katie Heaney at

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