East Penn Press

Monday, December 10, 2018

Respectfully Yours: Media

Friday, December 22, 2017 by Jacquelyn Youst Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

I had a friend on social media who got carried away with political posts, and I ended up blocking the person. At the time, I felt relieved. A couple of weeks went by and I forgot all about this. Then I ran into my “blocked” friend at the grocery store. I wasn’t sure if I should say hello or pretend I didn’t see the person. In the moment, I decided to give a slight nod and hurried out of the store. I realize blocking the person wasn’t the smartest way to handle this. Can you suggest a better way to handle Facebook friends who are so passionate in their opinions?

Dear Reader,

Facebook is probably the most popular social networking website, yet many of us never think about Facebook etiquette. As long as you use some common sense, you should easily be able to use Facebook and not offend others.

You’ve found yourself in the crossfire of ranting posts for or against a particular political issue, party platform, or elected official. Some people feel they must recap the news du jour and then add their highly emotional opinions for all of their friends to see.

If you find these comments and statuses weighing heavily on your shoulders, there are ways to delicately deal with this type of self-appointed social media news commentator. Most social media platforms offer a way to adjust your settings to a private mode.

A good option may be to simply unfollow the person, rather than blocking or unfriending them. You can still be their friend on Facebook, you just won’t see their posts. I have found this option refreshing, as I can keep in touch with people I care about, but out of touch with their political opinions, which I often don’t care about.

Blocking a friend will give you a temporary sense of relief and control over the situation. But, like you found out, if you live in a small town, chances are good you might run into that person. Remember, they were on your friends list because, at some point, you decided to be social media friends. Do you really want to sever the relationship?

Probably not.

Your encounter at the store created an awkward situation. Next time, say hello. Attempting to repair a relationship is far better than escalating a social media war.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of Jacquelyn Youst Etiquette Consulting, specializing in protocol training. She works with the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2017 Jacquelyn Youst