Dear Annie: In this day and age, it is very hard to ignore what people are doing in their private lives when it’s plastered all over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Specifically, I am referring to photos of social gatherings that have me feeling left out.
I have a grown child who is married. Recently, the married couple moved. When they moved in to their home, we were there to physically help them. The whole family helped in their move — all four parents, an uncle, a sibling and a nephew. We also gave them a very generous check for a housewarming gift so they could buy a few extra things for their new home.
It has been my great displeasure to learn, from their posts on Facebook, that my son and daughter-in-law have hosted a few dinners in their new home. She’s had a “girls’ night in,” and he’s had a “guys’ night in.” They’ve hosted a dinner party for my daughter-in-law’s side of the family. However, as parents of the other child in that marriage, we have yet to be invited to their new home for a social gathering.
I am trying not to take this personally, but I can’t help but feel slighted and disappointed that our family has yet to be invited to their home. I “like” all the pictures from all their parties, but inside I’m bothered that we aren’t important enough to have been invited over as everyone else has been. Suggestions? Thoughts? — Family Matters
Dear Family Matters: I can tell your feelings are about to boil over, so turn down the flame or take off the lid.
The former means cooling off. They only moved in recently, as you said; maybe they wanted to host an intimate dinner with each side of the family separately and your daughter-in-law’s side just happened to be first. The latter means expressing how you feel — but in a healthy, positive way, free of guilt-tripping and accusations. For example, you might tell your son, “We’d love to come over sometime when you’re settled in and it’s convenient for you.” The main point is not to blow up.
Dear Annie: Wow! I couldn’t agree more with “Don’t Shoot,” who hates having her picture taken and posted online. I am a very private person and do not understand people’s crazy obsession with living their lives on the internet. I’ve no interest in telling the world what I ate for breakfast. When I ask folks not to include my picture or my name in postings, I get the same reaction as “Don’t Shoot” — that I need to get with the program. My husband and I made a pact not to bring our phones to the dinner table, including when we are out to dinner. It amazes me to see folks sitting together with their heads down, peering into their phones and having conversations with everyone except the person sitting across from them. Where did we lose our manners? — “Outta Touch” in Virginia
Dear “Outta Touch”: It is sad to see a couple looking at their phones more than each other’s face. Witnessing that makes me worry we’ve lost not just manners but a bit of our humanity. Fortunately, since printing “Don’t Shoot’s” letter, I’ve heard from dozens of people echoing this sentiment, which means there’s hope.
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