Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Social Media “Friend” Is Overly Friendly

DEAR HARRIETTE: Somehow I am connected to a young man on social media, and he is constantly sending me messages and tagging me on his various posts. At first, it didn’t bother me, but now I find it annoying. Also, because he tags me and a host of other people on these posts, I now get communications from some of them -- more people I don’t know. How can I get him to stop? I don’t want to unfriend him, but I’m thinking that’s what I need to do. I may also need to block him. Is that rude of me? I need to do something. -- Over Connected

DEAR OVER CONNECTED: You can start by sending him a direct message on whatever social media platform you two share. Ask him to stop including you in the posts where he tags lots of people. Explain that you have limited engagement on social media, and you do not want to be exposed to a broader group of people. You can add that you know he is active on social media, but you would appreciate receiving messages only every now and then, as you feel overwhelmed by the volume of messages that he sends you. If he continues to include you on the blasts, you should feel no qualms about blocking him.

One of the unwritten rules of social media is honoring people’s requests. If this man is unwilling to respect your preferred level of engagement, he doesn’t deserve to have access to you. You can unfollow him and block him and call it a day.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I lost my job just before Christmas, but I decided not to tell anyone because I didn’t want them to be worried around the holidays. I feel like I need to say something, though, because I am finding it hard to get a job, and my family relies on me to handle the bills.

My wife is going to be so disappointed. How can I break it to her so that she still respects me? I have always been able to take care of the family, but I am worried that she may need to go back to work for a while. -- Out of Work

DEAR OUT OF WORK: Your wife will appreciate your honesty, even as it means that you are facing lean times right now. You must work as a team to manage during this difficult period. This includes cutting back dramatically on all expenses. As you look for a job, it may also mean that she has to do so as well.

Talk it out with her so that you assess together where you are and where you need to be headed. If you can agree on a plan, it will help to shore up your emotions and help your wife to feel more confident, too, since she will be part of the solution. Allow this rough patch to bring the two of you closer.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)