DEAR AMY: What is the best way to handle photographers at church who include other worshippers in their photos and videos unexpectedly?
Someone who has a camera to record a baby's baptism and suddenly feels the need to enlist the congregation as extras in the personal family video is easy enough to dodge by hiding behind a hymnal. But now I am seeing cameras at funerals too, with the videographer encouraging me to smile and wave as I look up from signing the guest book, staring like a deer in headlights.
Smiling seems too lighthearted but frowning disapprovingly may not be correct either. Is there some way that you know to rise above this odd new trend? -- Not Camera Ready
DEAR NOT READY: As filming everything becomes more ubiquitous, all of us face the prospect of being supporting players in others' movies of the week. I agree that this is an intrusion, and like you I duck this whenever possible and try way too hard to look "natural" the rest of the time.
I have worked as an "extra" in three major motion pictures (one advantage to living in Chicago). One thing I learned during my brief career is that the perfect extra fades anonymously to the background, letting the featured actors soak up the action.
If you are at a funeral where there is a professional videographer, you have to assume that the grieving family has hired the person. Even if it is not what you would do, you should respect their wish to have this video record. Do not smile and wave. Go about your business. Be an extra.
DEAR AMY: I am a young woman struggling with depression.
My early teenage years were a dark time for me, and I had a problem with cutting. I have stopped, but I have scars. I am not proud nor ashamed; these scars show where I've been and that I've survived.
The problem is that I cannot wear a swimsuit and play in the water with my family without these scars being visible. Only my fiance is aware of the scars.
I want to come clean about my problems and my past, but I don't know how to do so without upsetting or worrying my parents. I want to assure them that it is no longer a problem for me. -- Conflicted
DEAR CONFLICTED: Congratulations on the healing you have attained. This is a true achievement. I hope you are seeing a therapist to manage your ongoing challenge with depression. If so, your therapist (or another adult friend or family member) can help to guide a conversation with your folks.
It's important for you to assure your parents that you are on the road to recovery and that part of this recovery is being honest with loved ones about your depression and its impact on your life.
If your parents are completely unaware that you were self-injuring, you should be prepared to tell them what it is and give them some material they can read so they can understand this phenomenon.
Try to prepare yourself for their questions and concerns. If this conversation breaks down, agree to have it in stages. You can do it.
Cornell University has conducted extensive research on self-injury and offers helpful guides and fact sheets for cutters and those who care about them. You can check their research at selfinjury.bctr.cornell.edu.
DEAR AMY: I understood the concern expressed by "Not 'Liking' This," who knew someone who posted very racy photos on Facebook but was wondering how to respond.
I know we are all told that photos posted online exist forever, but I don't know if people really understand the reality of that.
I posted photos several years ago that (now that I am the mother of three children who will someday enter the social networking age) I wish I could completely eliminate.
At the very least, people who post "iffy" photos should not "tag" themselves. Then at least they can maintain some deniability later on. -- Freaked by FB
DEAR FREAKED: Not tagging is a good idea, but other people can also tag you. The best thing to do is to be extremely intentional about everything posted online.