Dear Readers – A November 24th question about wanting to un-friend on Facebook an ex’s close relatives and friends after a “catastrophic” breakup, brought forth many responses.
Given the worldwide popularity of Facebook, here are two readers’ feedbacks, which may help others with similar post-breakup concerns:
Reader #1 – “I think the motive for wanting to un-friend the individuals mentioned may not just be about drama and low self-confidence.
“I think having these people pop up on the writer’s news feed is a painful reminder of the relationship.
“Having reminders of ex’s can be emotionally triggering and hurtful, and be part of what prevents people from moving forward with more ease after such breakups.
“There are already enough reminders without having things pop up on our social media.
“Facebook has features that allow you to un-follow (not un-friend) and also prevent certain people's posts from showing up in your newsfeed or home page.
“If you enable these options, you only see those persons’ posts if you go to their Facebook profile pages.
“It's a bit complicated but if the writer plays around with it a bit, he/she should be able to figure it out.
“One easy option is to put people on the Restricted list (they'll still be friends that way, but they won't see the unwanted posts on their news feed).
“And the restricted individuals won't be able to comment on his/her wall unless it’s been allowed.
“The writer will still need to use self-control in choosing not to go to these persons’ profile pages and thereby having reminders of the ex.
“But their posts won’t pop up unwanted.”
Reader #2 - “In a toxic situation (like this one), it seems to me that the writer needs to draw a line in the sand between his/her world and that of the ex.
“If the writer had still wanted to keep in contact with this ex’s sister and friends in real life, then there would be no need to de-friend any of them on Facebook.
“However, I strongly suspect that's not the case here.
“By keeping them around as Facebook friends, I think their presence will eat away in the back of his/her mind.
“The writer should make the choice to put personal feelings first, even though it might be perceived as an insult to others.
“It's the lesser of two evils for this person.
“If his/her feelings soften later, the choice can be re-made to try to win the virtual friendship back.
“Also, considering how noisy Facebook is these days, those who fall into the un-friend category might not even notice!”
My son, 39, has never had a serious relationship.
He suffers from social anxiety, is a heavy smoker, and has difficulty meeting potential partners.
He has a steady job and is a good person.
I’ve suggested group therapy. Sharing with others might help him see how he’s standing in his own way.
He previously saw a counsellor but the advice, "you just need to get out more," wasn't helpful.
He’s profoundly lonely, but I wonder how much he’s willing to change.
I keep contact by email and see him for dinner every few weeks. How can I help him?
Keep contact and assure that he’s not totally isolated, missing work, or suffering depression.
Tell him about meetup.com groups where people gather around specific interests - meeting for a sport, music event, playing poker, trying new restaurants, etc.
It can boost his social confidence through connecting without dating pressure.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman determined to retain a 20-pounds weight loss (Nov. 22):
Reader – “Her successful weight loss journey is about her, but the girlfriends’ weekend is about the bride and the her pals.
“Celebratory foods for that group may include "chips, breads, cookies, ice creams, etc."
“When people start to “eat clean,” or follow “a diet,” they tend to scrutinize others’ dietary habits, or expect people to give up their free choice to accommodate the dieter.
“Instead, she should respect what her friends have chosen for the weekend and, as you suggested, bring her own food.
“When they see her amazing weight loss, they’ll likely ask about her method.
“It’ll be a great time to share how she’s achieved it.
“She should stay motivated, feel free to indulge in small portions of “forbidden” foods to join the celebration or treat herself, and focus on her lifestyle changes for the long-run.”
Tip of the day:
Learn acceptable ways to not be reminded of your ex through your social media.