Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Peripheral Friend Mad She Wasn't Invited to Party

DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a birthday party a couple of months ago and posted some of the photos on social media. Recently, I was at an event and saw a woman I’ve known peripherally for a long time, and she wished me a happy birthday. I commented, thanks, but that was a while ago, to which she replied that she saw pictures on Facebook, so it didn’t seem that far away.

This woman was a little snippy, which made me think that she felt snubbed that she wasn’t invited to my party. While I like her, I don’t think she has ever invited me to anything. I don’t see why I should feel bad for not including her in my private celebration, nor do I feel like I should have hidden it from social media. Other people who weren’t invited liked some of the photos and made pleasant comments. Do you think I should have handled her differently? -- Outside Looking In

DEAR OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: People react in different ways to finding out about activities to which they were not invited. Exposing your experiences on social media creates an open invitation for people to know what you are doing and to react to that in different ways. In the case of this woman, what you might have done when she pointed out that she saw the birthday party photos on Facebook was to say, “Yes, we had a great time!” or something like that, which acknowledges the fact that you celebrated and enjoyed.

In the future, if you post images from events where others are not invited, you may want to add in your comments that you know not everyone could join you, but you appreciate their love and support. You have to craft it so it is specific to the event, but it’s worth considering how to make other friends feel more comfortable about not being there. You might also avoid posting a group shot that shows everyone who was there and also points out who was not there.