By Katharine Luckinbill
One of my close friends is always writing attention seeking things on Facebook and it’s becoming extremely obnoxious. In so many ways she is a great friend; she’s always there for me when I need her, she’s extremely loyal, and she makes an effort to be a good friend and go above and beyond the call of duty. Yet I just cannot seem to get past this flaw. She has so many things going for her in her life and really no reason to be sad or unhappy and yet nearly every day there’s a status saying something like, “Just wishing tomorrow will be better.” How do I talk to my friend about this, or better yet — have the personal strength to ignore it and let it roll off my back so that I can enjoy the things about her that I actually like?
Annoyed in Anaheim
Dear Annoyed in Anaheim,
You and me both, sister! “VagueBooking,” as I harrumphingly refer to it, is one of the most annoying things trending on the Internet these days. (See: harumph, and also: Vaguebooking.) I think if people walked into work each day and said to their coworkers, “I just can’t bear it anymore,” they would most certainly be brought immediately to human resources for a psychological evaluation, and mandatory “vacation.” Yet, on Facebook, it calls out to all the other attention seekers to respond with as many “Oh no, what’s wrong? Call me!”’s as you can possibly imagine. I’m just as sick of it as you are.
Fortunately none of the people doing this on my network are very close friends, so I’m not really that invested in what they say or do. So I can only imagine how tough it must be to let those kind of things slide when you really care about the person.
Here’s what I would do: wait until the next time she writes something provocative and give her a call once you’ve seen it. Try your best not to have a mocking, judgmental, or condescending tone. Tell her that you just saw her Facebook post and you’re concerned. When she tells you about her newest bit of drama, ask her if everything is okay and if there’s something deeper or more serious she’d like to talk to you about.
If she asks why, lovingly explain that you’ve been noticing frequent posts on Facebook that would lead someone to believe that she is very, very unhappy. Perhaps this will get her to open up to you and explain what she’s really dealing with and then maybe the VagueBooking will even stop.
However, if the opposite happens and she doesn’t have anything more serious to worry about than her phone erasing her numbers or her favorite pants getting stained on the subway, explain to her that all of these comments online have caused you concern and maybe she could consider this more thoroughly before she posts such worrisome things for all the web to read.
Depending on the depth of your relationship, your communication history and, most importantly, your tone when speaking to her — this conversation could go in several directions.
Just remember the things about her that you love, and voice this as a concern for her happiness and well-being, rather than a judgment on her character.
Love is always easier to hear than criticism.
Here’s to a friendly news feed,
Dear Kate is a column that runs on Kate-book.com every Thursday at noon. It is written by the wise Katharine Luckinbill, who you should follow on Twitter. Got a life, friendship, family, dating, or relationship question that you’d like Dear Kate to answer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help you out.