Miss Manners 9/21 – Mon, 21 Sep 2020 PST

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A current real-life friend sent me a friend request on social media, and I accepted. I have regularly liked quite a few of this friend’s posts – about half of them – and even commented once or twice.

Never once has this friend liked or reacted in any way to any of my posts.

We are both relatively active on social media, engaging with mutual friends, and neither of us posts anything controversial, bragging, or weird. I am aware that some of my posts may not have been seen by my friend, or that the algorithm may be somewhat responsible, but I cannot believe that all of my posts have been accidentally overlooked.

I don’t want to make assumptions or be petty about this, but I think it is human nature to be a little bit hurt. I feel very foolish continuing to like my friend’s posts while receiving nothing in response, so I have totally stopped. I don’t want to ask my friend what’s going on. What would you suggest in this situation?

GENTLE READER: Well, now you know how people feel when others do not acknowledge their invitations or presents.

Only you have not actually done anything for your friend when you distribute personal information online, so there is no etiquette violation when your audience does not keep cheering you on.

If you want to know how your real-life friend really feels about you, Miss Manners recommends making a real-life personal overture.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I sent my godson a card with a gift of money for his 17th birthday. He never contacted me to say thank you. His mom (my very good friend) called me about two weeks after his birthday just to talk and, during the conversation, thanked me for the gift of money.

This is not the first time this has happened, and I get upset each time. He, not his mom, should call me or send me a written thank-you. I feel it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children this basic concept, but my friend hasn’t and it bothers me.

How do I approach wanting a thank-you from him, and not his mom, without offending my friend? He is a great kid and very well-mannered; however, I feel he is old enough to thank me himself.

GENTLE READER: You approach him. Understandably, you do not want a surrogate to respond to your present, so do not use one to register your complaint.

“Caleb, dear,” you say, “your mother told me that you got my check. But you’ve never told me if it was welcome. If I don’t get any direct feedback from you, I have no way of knowing whether you were pleased.”

Miss Manners suggests the use of the word “feedback” because it is so familiar from social media. And she trusts that you are aware of the latent threat there.

Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.



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