DEAR AMY: I work in an office on a small university campus. There are only eight people in our department, and for the most part we have a collegial atmosphere. We are all friends on social media and we frequently communicate via group texts. We spend office time with general “water cooler” talk. Here’s the rub, or at least what’s rubbing me the wrong way. I’m growing less tolerant of what I perceive to be a double standard. All of my colleagues seem more supportive of others than of me. We all share our life and family events on social media. Everyone seems to “like,” “comment” or “share” each others’ posts. Their babies and dogs are cooed over, but I have a growing animosity that my posts and life events (that are less “small town”) are not recognized. I “like” and comment on their various posts, so I am fairly certain that they are seeing mine. My wife, a human resources executive, says that’s why you shouldn’t be friends with co-workers. From my perspective it’s not that simple. Seeing that social media platforms are part and parcel of what my office does to promote our institution, it seems natural that we all are connected via these platforms, but with my feelings hurt, I am wondering if I can “unfriend” without creating a sticky wicket? Do I express my feelings and see if there’s a change? Do I just get over it? Can you give me suggestions on how to deal with this situation?
DEAR FACEBOOKED: First of all, you could assume that Facebook’s notorious algorithm might be messing with you, and that your posts are not being seen. If you are sharing something you know would be of specific interest to one or more of your colleagues, you could tag them. If you tag someone, and they still don’t respond but are otherwise active on the platform, then you might take it personally. Posting a photo will push your post out further.
Secondly, if you want to get cooed over, you will have to share something coo-worthy. I suggest that you get (or rent) an adorable kitten. (Kittens are easier to acquire than human babies.)
Facebook is not necessarily always a two-way sharing platform. For instance, my own days of sharing baby pictures and kindergarten graduation photos are long past, and so I engage others by enjoying theirs. Sometimes, Facebook offers a one-dimensional album of glimpses into others lives, and if you can’t or don’t enjoy that, you can either unfriend these colleagues or quietly “hide” their posts so you won’t be so aggravated. Your wife is right; you shouldn’t always look for personal validation at work.
DEAR AMY: My mom, 76, has recently made friends with a new neighbor. They both enjoy walking their dogs a few times a day. The issue is that the friend’s dog, “Molly,” lunges and barks aggressively at other dogs that pass by. My mom is very worried that Molly will hurt another dog, and/or my mom’s dog will pick up the bad habit. My mom wants to give the neighbor a coupon for a dog training session at the local pet emporium, but she doesn’t want to compromise the friendship, as she has very few friends in the neighborhood. We would love your advice on this difficult and potentially dangerous and awkward situation.
DEAR CONCERNED: Your mother’s neighbor might become defensive about her dog’s behavior, but I would imagine that her relationship with the neighbor would be even more severely impacted by “Molly” attacking and injuring her or her own dog while on a walk.
Molly could trip her owner or your mother while lunging toward another dog in the middle of an aggression.
Your mother should be honest about the obvious issue, saying, “I’m worried Molly might hurt another dog, or you, accidentally.” She could offer to find a training session for both dogs and owners to attend together. A trainer could help both the neighbor and your mother with ways to manage Molly, with the goal being to socialize her. This is a job for a professional.
DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the comment from “Survivor,” the healthy 91-year-old whose friends were all passing away. Survivor should consider celebrating a wake before his/her own actual death. I just did it; I invited friends whom I wanted to see, stretching back 60 years, and had a blast. I intend to have another one in five years.
DEAR 80-YEAR-OLD: I love this idea!