Q: You visited a city where you have many friends, but you went to be alone and recharge. A friend saw one of your social media posts from the trip and asked why you didn’t let her know you were in town. How can you be honest without making her feel that you were avoiding her?


A: It’s important that we acknowledge our right to occasionally put our own needs ahead of those of others — whether it’s family members or friends. Yes, spending time with others is part of the commitment we make to being in relationships, but ultimately we have to spend our time in ways we feel is best for ourselves.

The easiest solution to your problem would have been to not post anything about your trip. It’s the first rule of social media: Think before you post.

But it’s too late for that now. All you can do is offer a disclaimer: “I was taking some much needed R&R and was trying to keep a low profile. I’m disappointed about not having time to catch up with everyone I love, but sometimes a person just needs some downtime, right?”

Don’t feel guilty about taking care of your own needs. You should pat yourself on the back for honoring what you know is right for you.

SUZANNE DEGGES-WHITE, co-author of “Toxic Friendships: Knowing the Rules and Dealing With the Friends Who Break Them”


A: Ideally, never post on social media about this sort of trip because you can bet someone will be offended. But if you get busted, never lie or be defensive.

The best approach is just to fess up. Say something like, “I was looking for a much needed getaway. For the sake of my sanity, I slipped into town and slipped out. Yes, I posted about it on Facebook and waited to do so after I got back home. I hope you understand.”

Finally, don’t apologize; you were not being selfish. Hopefully, your friend understands, and if not, that is her problem.

SHARON HILL, etiquette expert