Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Inattentive Facebooker misses news of friend's tragedy, commits faux pas

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I am a teacher at a large high school, and typically only interact with those in my wing of the school. On the first day we returned from break, I bumped into "Polly" while signing in and cheerfully asked, "How was your [vacation]?" She glared at me and stomped away. I'm sure I gave her a frown in return at the perceived rudeness. A week or so later, I remembered the incident and looked her up on Facebook. We were friends, but I had muted her postings since she posted quite frequently.

I then discovered that she suffered a late (seven months in) miscarriage. She had many detailed posts of her anguish.

I felt TERRIBLE that I may have triggered this reaction from her.

Since then, I occasionally run into her at school and she is friendly but distant. My question is, is it worth bringing up months after the fact to apologize?

--Sponsored Video--

And what is my responsibility to be aware of people's personal issues if we are social media friends but I do not actually pay attention to their posts?

-- Regret

You have zero obligation to be aware of what people post on social media.

Think about it -- you can't go on vacation? Take a break from Facebook for a while? Or quit it entirely? What if the algorithm filters out someone because you unwittingly went for a certain period of time not liking or commenting on someone's posts, or just missed them as a matter of timing. That's your fault?


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