Dear Abby: Help! Facebook is killing my social life. I am wondering if anyone else is having this experience.
I am a woman whose job requires me to be on the computer eight hours a day. The last thing I want after work is to go online. Before Facebook took over my social circle, this wasn’t a problem. But now all my friends and family are on the site and pressuring me to do likewise.
Gradually, Facebook contact seems to be replacing real, physical get-togethers. Things that used to be done in person or over the phone are now all done on Facebook, and we rarely get together anymore. If I don’t check Facebook, I am out of the loop.
If I suggest getting together, everyone is “busy” — busy on Facebook, I guess. They aren’t mad at me or avoiding me, they just want contact on their terms. Am I the only one having this problem?
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I’m sure you’re not the only one. The Internet is supposed to be a tool to facilitate communication, not a substitute for real, flesh-and-blood relationships. If you can’t work out a compromise with your friends and family — say, one in-person visit a month — you may have to cultivate some new relationships with other “old-school” people who also prefer face-to-face contact.
Dear Abby: My father recently passed away. It was unexpected. He was my sunshine and my heart. I am devastated. Because of this, I am no longer sure I want to have a traditional wedding. It would be too sad to not share the day with Dad, as I had dreamed. My fiance and I have discussed eloping, and it seems like the right idea.
The trouble with eloping, however, is that we’d want our parents and siblings there as witnesses, and we’d like a party for friends and extended family after the nuptials. People are telling me THAT'S not eloping, and they have been looking forward to attending our wedding.
In the midst of my grief, I’m not sure how to respond to their comments. What should I do?
If you would prefer your nuptials to be a small, intimate affair, that’s what they should be. Have a reception later. Whether others were looking forward to attending your wedding is beside the point. If you are challenged for not wanting a big wedding, all you need to say is that your plans changed when your father died. No one should be able to argue with that, because your feelings are understandable.
Dear Abby: I have a neighbor who is always asking to borrow things. The items come back only if I go and collect them — from food items like spices, to gasoline, cash and more. The situation is almost comical, like Simpson vs. Flanders. How can I make my stuff less available without outright saying no?
And what is wrong with just saying no? When someone’s generosity is abused, that’s the most logical thing to do. And without being nasty, you should tell your neighbor the reason why.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.