Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column to work on other projects. I hope you enjoy these "Best Of" columns. Today's topic is: Unsocial media. I'll be back with fresh columns next week.
Dear Amy: My daughter-in-law uses Facebook to complain about her job, her boss, how much she feels cheated by being a working mother, and even about the shortcomings of her new husband (my son), who apparently failed to buy her a lavish enough Mother's Day gift.
These posts create an online persona that makes her seem vicious, and she really isn't. But the really embarrassing part is that she is Facebook "friends" with everyone in my family, and her posts are a topic of not-too-flattering gossip.
I have mentioned to my son a few times when her posts have become offensive, and he is trying to deal with it offline.
Amy says: When your daughter-in-law posts her complaints, selfishness or negativity on the public bulletin board that is Facebook, she runs the risk of ruining her personal and professional reputation. And that's her business.
When her whining veers into family territory, that's your business.
A gentle and respectful "heads-up" (to her) is in order, and then you should back off, adjust your settings (both metaphorically and on Facebook) and stop reading her posts. (September 2011)
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Dear Amy: My dad's politics are at odds with the rest of the family.
He keeps sending us extreme and hateful articles. We keep asking him to stop, but when he drinks too much (which is almost every night) he will send us articles with messages like, "You won't be so hard on me after you read this factual article" (which it isn't).
I've asked him to stop sending me any political e-mails, but then he won't talk to me for days.
Sometimes he won't remember sending me anything and his feelings are hurt because he has no idea why I am so hard on him. I try to take the high road, but I also will not let him bully me. What can I do to keep him from upsetting me, outside of cutting him out of my life?
Amy says: You think this is about offensive or unwanted e-mail, but I think this is about your father's drinking. You claim his drinking is excessive enough that he does things he doesn't remember doing, then his feelings are hurt when you (or others) react to his actions.
You should automatically delete his messages to you, or have e-mail from him sent directly to your "spam" folder for you to review periodically.
Has anybody in your family urged your father to get help to stop drinking? You can anticipate denial and/or belligerence when you do, which isn't much different from how he relates to you anyway. (August 2011)
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