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Heavy Meddle: My Friend Is Oversharing On Facebook!

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Dear Steve,
How do you graciously let a friend know you want them to stop posting pictures of you on Facebook?
--Camera Shy

Dear Shy,

Well, the first and most obvious thing would be to not tell them on Facebook. You can go ahead and take it to the next level of intimacy (email), or even something old school like, say, inviting him or her to lunch. Chances are your friend will want to take a picture or two of you while you’re having lunch -- Status Update: Check out my super cool pal Camera Shy stuffing a whole tuna roll in her sushi hole! — and will then want to post this pic on Facebook. This will provide you a natural entrée to the conversation.

<i>Status Update: Ever have one of those lunches where your friend gets all self-righteous about her privacy boundaries? Ugh. Please pass the guilt...</i>

You can simply say, “Hey friend, can I ask you a favor? This may seem a little silly to you, but I’m not crazy about having photos of myself posted on Facebook. I realize everyone has different attitudes towards social media. And I also realize that you’re paying me a compliment by posting pictures of me. It’s a little public way of commemorating the time we spend together. It’s sweet. I simply prefer that we share the photos we take with each other, rather than a wider audience.”

At this point, you may notice that your friend is still taking pictures of you with her iPhone, then working her magical little thumbs -- Status Update: Ever have one of those lunches where your friend gets all self-righteous about her privacy boundaries? Ugh. Please pass the guilt -- in which case, you may need to raise it up a notch.

“Here’s the thing,” you can say. “I get that Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with people you don’t see that much and to make sure your old boyfriends have gone bald and to stay abreast of all the Fox News conspiracies that your creepy uncle Rick thinks you should know about. Bu-u-u-u-u-t we’re pretty good friends. We see each other a fair amount. So we should really just focus on the time we spend together rather than constantly documenting the time we’re spending together for other people.”

At this point, you may receive a notification from Facebook informing you that you’ve been unfriended by your friend. Chances are she posted a photo of you from that one time you did too many Jell-O shots down in Daytona Beach and passed out with your head inside a toilet, along with a new Status Update: My ex-friend Camera Shy when she was still worth hanging out with. Good times!

Don’t panic.

Dire as this may seem, there is a still a logical and elegant solution to this dilemma: Get off Facebook. 


Dear Steve,
I’m a recent college graduate starting an awesome job in Boston. My housing budget means I have to choose between a beautiful and spacious apartment that’s a very long walk from the nearest T station, or a slightly more expensive apartment that not as pretty or roomy but is located exactly where I want it to be. What would you choose, convenience or aesthetics?
--Flat Stumped

Dear Flat,

Welcome to Boston! As you may have noticed, people here are super friendly all the time and we never complain about anything. For instance, I am not going to complain about my situation when I first moved to town, back in 1997, even though I didn’t have an awesome job, or even a non-awesome job, and I was broke and had just been dumped, and even though the most promising apartment on my list was a garden-level (read: basement) studio in South Boston whose previous tenant was a serial killer with poor clean-up habits. They wanted $1,100 a month.

But I’m not going to complain about that, Flat. I’m not going to do it. Because this is Boston and of all the things we never ever complain about here (weather, Red Sox, parking) number one on the list is the Insane Real Estate Market.

Instead, I’m going to ask you to step back and answer a few very basic questions.

Welcome to Boston! As you may have noticed, people here are super friendly all the time and we never complain about anything.

1. Would you classify yourself as a “homebody”? That is: How much time do you spend in your living space, and how important is that space to your happiness?

2. How important is your neighborhood to you? Are you somebody who likes to be able to walk out your front door and be in the thick of things?

3. Do you mind walking? Is it something you enjoy, or anyway could embrace as a way of staying fit? Before answering, please keep in mind that it is cold and nasty in Boston for approximately eight months per year, and sweltering for another two. (Note: I am not complaining about the weather. I’m just delivering the facts.)

4. What’s your general tolerance for commuting? Do you consider it wasted time, or a chance to unwind?

5. Are you tired of answering questions yet?

I thought so.

Here’s the thing, Flat: it just doesn’t matter what apartment I would choose. Because I don’t get to live there. I get to live in a shoebox filled with fractious children and anxiety. It’s too late for me. But you’ve still got options. You’re still full of hope and good will. Boston will eventually beat that out of you. For now, do a little self-inventory, sign a lease, and invite me to the housewarming.

I promise not to complain about the parking. ♥

Editor's Note: Well, readers, what do you think? Did Steve get it right? Did he miss the mark? Let us hear from you in the comments. What about you? Are you struggling with your own existential crisis? An etiquette issue? Mild forms of social self-recrimination? We can help. Send your questions:

This program aired on June 10, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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