Recently, a couple friends of mine have blown me off and, later the same night, posted about all the fun they're having without me on Facebook. This has happened two or three times. How do I address this with them?
We need to redefine "friends," I think, because there are a lot of you out there using it weirdly. A little of it is due to Facebook itself, but really I think Facebook only put a visual to a problem that's been there a long time, and possibly forever. You are "friends" with X number of people. But most of them are not really your friends. You would have a horrible time hanging out with most of them. And yet you look at them everyday. Isn't that stupid? Who can stop!
So let's cut out 90% of your Facebook friends right off the bat. You'll know which ones. After that, cut out (symbolically) people you USED to be friends with, and coworkers you'd never see out of the office, and people you've never met in real life. What's left, maybe, are your actual friends. These are people you talk to AT LEAST once a month, who you would feel comfortable having stay overnight in your home, and who, most pertinent to your question, hang out with you when they say they will, and make at least some of those plans themselves. This number should, probably, be pretty small!
Either the people you mentioned fit the criteria (in which case they are annoyed with you for some reason, and are all being dumb babies about bringing it up) or they don't, but maybe you want them to. In either case you need to call them up and ask them what's going on, because you know and they know that you can see their Facebook activity. "Let's all be grown-ups about this," you say. They might respond well, or they might not. But you deserve nice friends (actually I don't … know that you do, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt), and nice friends don't do what you're describing here.
My mother called me the other morning, upset, because she had just spent the last hour reading my tweets (a lot of which had profanity). She took half the things I said out of context (at one point she asked me if I had sex with a boyfriend and his father, which had me so puzzled I wondered if she was even on MY twitter). How do I tell her that Twitter is just Twitter?
Oh my stars! Where the heck did your poor mom land on Twitter? It just figures that she would accidentally find the absolute worst possible thing on Twitter to look at, and then look at it, worrying. For who knows how long! Just sitting there, mouthing tweets to herself and clasping her hand over her eyes and reading through them. Ah! Hug her!
First thing's first: you should help your mom distinguish between YOUR Twitter and Twitter AT LARGE. Don't be condescending about it, because Twitter IS confusing at first! You can show her parts of your timeline (the most innocuous parts, obviously) and explain what you use it for, who you're tweeting "to," and what your most troubling acronyms really stand for. (Maybe you could say "WTF" means "What The Frizzle?" Like Ms. Frizzle? I don't know how old you are, so this may not sound believable.)
But beyond that, you SHOULD remember that you ARE putting these things in public, and that means knowing that your mom can (and will) check in on them. She's going to get as much context as you give. And it isn't your job to cater your Twitter to your mom, but it's as good a reminder as any that public speech is … public. Whether it's real life or not! If you want your tweets completely private, you can lock your account. Otherwise … you may just get a panicked phone call every week or two from here on out.
I got an unexpected Valentine's Day text message from someone I sort of used to have a (unofficial) thing with, and I THINK it was a mass text (i.e. short, unadorned with my name or anything else identifying), but I guess I'm not 100% sure. How do I respond … or not respond?
There should be a mass text help center, I think. You'd walk into this marble building and off the circular foyer there would be a door for every holiday or occasion, and in your case you'd walk in the one marked (in rose petals) "Valentine's Day," and someone behind the desk would take your phone, project the message onto a screen, and then a doctor would pop in the room to do a psychological profile on the message's sender and help you decide on a course of action. And when you'd leave you'd get candy, because I understand these situations are stressful and I do think you deserve a little treat.
I think a good rule that applies not only to text messaging but to Facebook birthday wishes and online dating messages too, is that the appropriate amount of thought that goes into a response (if you send one) should reflect the amount of thought put into whatever piece of shit it is you're currently looking at in your inbox. If the message in question is boilerplate, if it could have been sent to anyone and nobody would have thought it didn't make sense, if it really just says "happy valentine's day," then don't over-think this. Whatever you say probably won't matter because what you were sent (almost certainly) doesn't matter.
So I'd recommend saying nothing back at all, because mass texting should be punished by way of total ignoral. This is either a dummy who texted "happy valentine's day" to everyone in his phone, or it's a dummy who texted that phrase only to you but didn't care to elaborate, and even he isn't sure why he sent it, because he's a dummy. Put it in the trash.
Senior Editor, Ghost Hunter, Ufologist
Contact Katie Heaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.