The problem: My son broke up with his girlfriend after two years. She and I are Facebook friends, so, naturally, I’ve seen her posts about her heartbreak. While she is taking the high road (basically), she’s also written a few digs about my child that are not so nice. I haven’t responded, but should I? And how?
Low road: Since you’re “friends,” you could post something to the effect of, “Well, he speaks highly of you.”
I understand the temptation to jump in and defend your progeny, but please resist. First, he’d have to live under his bed if he found out his mom was on Facebook explaining his finer qualities. Second, everyone knows that breakups are generally awful; even the nicest people find themselves posturing and defending as they work through confusion, pain and, sometimes, embarrassment. Friends of the couple have drawn their own conclusions and moved on to the next social media drama.
High road: While you have a genuine affinity for this young woman, you’d be wise to unfriend her on Facebook.
There’s nothing good that can come from you watching her post pictures — eventually — of her new boyfriend, who, we know, is nothing compared with her old one. But do this kindly. Before you ax her, send her an e-mail or, better, a letter (the kind with a stamp) that tells her the genuinely nice things you feel about her. How much you enjoyed getting to know her. How much you appreciated her sunny spirit/cooking skills/ability to get your son to pick up his underwear. Whatever is true. Conclude with your belief that she should be able to move forward on Facebook without the pressure of your presence. Wish her well. Sign, seal and deliver.
Gail Rosenblum is a features columnist. Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.