DEAR ABBY: I was a full-time summer nanny for several years for the same family, now a preteen boy and girl. I loved them, had a great time on the job and have communicated with them occasionally through the years on birthdays and holidays. Eventually, I moved away for college and was no longer able to sit for them.
Both kids now are on Facebook, and I (foolishly) accepted their friend requests. I use Facebook to keep in touch with family members or for school group projects, so I am on only once or twice a week.
The girl messages me almost daily with "Hey" or similar short things. I am unable to dedicate time to this kind of interaction even within my own age group, but I feel bad leaving so many messages unanswered. What can I tell her? I'd love to catch up around holiday times like we used to, but I'd like to be left alone online. -- BUSY, BUSY IN CHICAGO
DEAR BUSY: As I see it, you have a choice: Tell her the truth, and explain it just as you have written to me, or contact her parents and have them explain it to her.