DEAR AMY: What do you think about friends and family who are nice to your face, and yet post derogatory, indirect comments (usually via memes) making fun of vegetarians (which I am), stating how stupid liberals are (I am liberal), and more or less making statements they would never make to my face? I usually ignore these comments, but it makes me question the character/sincerity of those who feel compelled to passive-aggressively sling mud. Am I taking this too personally? What do you think about this?
DEAR CONFOUNDED: Do you ever post comments or memes poking fun at or otherwise deriding meat-eaters, frackin’ lovin’ gas guzzlers, narrow-minded Trump-lovers, and the like?
If not — good for you.
If you never post any comment directed at your cultural and political opposites, and if you never post or share memes mocking politically conservative people, then you get to feel sensitive about this now.
I suspect, however, that you probably have passed along a posting, joke or comment about, for instance, Sarah Palin’s ability to see Russia from her front porch. But — when you do it, it’s called “humor.” When others do it, it is offensive.
If you do post politically pointed or derogatory items — and if you are polite, decent and kind to people who are politically opposite of you, then you are being as passive-aggressive and hypocritical as you accuse various friends and family of being.
The reason these politically opposite people are nice to your face is because they like you. The reason these same people post insensitive memes mocking vegetarians is because they have decided to forgive you for your supposed “flaws.” They’ve put you in a separate category from everyone else and think it’s fun or funny to mock strangers.
Your choices are to push back on the same platforms where you see these postings, or (my vote) use a filter to “hide” these types of posts.
DEAR AMY: I have worked with “Jenny” for a little over two years. We never spent time together outside of work, but I used to call her my “work bestie.” I have been distancing myself from her over the past few months because she was making racist comments and I do not agree with her politics. I’ve tried to maintain a good working relationship, but it is obvious that our friendship has cooled. Jenny has, very loudly, been discussing her upcoming wedding plans with a co-worker, even making a point to say that she didn’t want gifts but preferred cash (she and her fiance have been together more than a decade, are done having children and own their home). The same co-worker told me she thought Jenny wanted us to throw her a shower, and probably wanted a cash gift. The wedding is six months away, but I have little indication that any of us are actually invited to this wedding. My initial thought was that you are probably not obligated to give someone a wedding gift if you are not invited to the wedding, but when Jenny and I were close, she helped organize a baby shower for me and gave several thoughtful gifts. So, if your co-worker is getting married, are you obligated to throw a shower or give gifts, regardless of whether you are invited to the wedding? And also, if someone you are no longer close with did something nice for you prior to the falling out, is it just good manners to return the favor?
To Gift or Not to Gift
DEAR TO GIFT: If “Jenny” organized a workplace shower for you and has thoughtfully given you gifts over the past two years, then yes, it would be kind of you to mark her marriage by also giving her a gift.
It is not necessary to host a wedding shower for her.
DEAR AMY: You diagnosed the “smartphone pause” in answering a question from “Talking to Walls in Ottawa.” I realized my wife and I were doing the same thing — forgetting to communicate with each other because we were buried in our phones. She got the message one day when I was in the room and sent her a text: “Look up. Someone who loves you wants to say hi!”
DEAR HAPPIER: I love it.