Don't tweet a family member's death

Amy answers questions about informing family of a death, shaking off a friend, and STD's. (Fotolia)

Amy answers questions about informing family of a death, shaking off a friend, and STD's. (Fotolia)

Amy Dickinson, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:26 PM ET

DEAR AMY: I have a large extended family whose members reside all over the United States. We have always had a phone list to notify family of a loved one's death. This tradition has worked flawlessly for more than 50 years and has ensured our financial and moral support of grieving family members.

Recently a family member died, and his eldest daughter volunteered to notify the family.

Instead of calling one of us to convey the information using the phone list, she decided to post a two-line notification on a social networking site, to which no one except she is a subscriber.

The end result was that few people attended the funeral, which deeply hurt the immediate family.

We only found out about his passing when the eldest daughter had a burst of anger and called a cousin, accusing us of not caring about the family by not supporting them in their time of grief.

We are upset with the eldest daughter of the family member who died for ignorantly assuming that social network postings are the only way to communicate the death of a loved one.

We all believe she was out of place. All the family's anger at us could have been avoided with one phone call. Then we would have then been able to support them with financial assistance and by attending the service. -- Heartbroken in California

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: I agree with you that family members notifying others of a death in the family need to do so across platforms (as the kids say).

Unfortunately, this person didn't do this and there are consequences for everyone.

I assume that you have explained yourself and expressed your own frustration to family members. Now you should express your condolences (not your frustration) to the immediate family.

You say, "We are so sorry to learn of Uncle Joe's death and wish we had found out in time to attend services. We have such wonderful memories of him." Share one or two specific stories about this family member and say you hope his immediate family will hold these memories in their hearts.

DEAR AMY: A person I've known a long time who considers herself a good friend of mine, recently let rip with a stream of anti-gay nonsense on her Facebook page.

I've drifted away from her over the years, but her latest antics have left me ice cold. She attempts to keep inserting herself into my life, saying, "You're my best friend, and we've had such fun for the past 30 years!" Since I've lost so much respect for her, it's hard for me to pretend to want to be around her.

I believe all people have a right to their own opinion, but I also feel everyone on the planet is entitled to human rights.

To add to the problem, our husbands are good friends. How do I gently shake her off my hind leg? -- Faded Friend

DEAR FADED: When people you know well post objectionable comments on Facebook, I think it is best to comment respectfully (also) on Facebook: "Wow, I couldn't disagree more."

Depending on how that interaction goes, you can then choose to ignore or block future posts, because sometimes it's just not worth the aggravation to continue to be exposed to views you find consistently objectionable.

Your friend may feel that you are longtime besties because of your shared history. She has the right to express her fondness, even if it doesn't match your own feelings.

The way to gently "shake her off your leg" (I love that, by the way) is to do so coolly but cordially. Don't seek her out and don't confide in her if you are thrown together socially.

If she doesn't adjust to this subtle change, then you will have to break up with her.

DEAR AMY: "Concerned Daughter" was worried that her randy older father might get an STD from the women he was sleeping with.

I have to point out that daddy could be the one spreading disease to unsuspecting partners. -- Also Concerned

DEAR ALSO: Exactly. His children need to "have the talk" with him about condom use.


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