June 22, 2011 in Features

Facebook tag not friendly behavior

Judith Martin, United Feature Syndicate
Contact Miss Manners

Judith Martin is the author of “Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding.” You may write to her at www.missmanners.com, or via postal mail at Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A former school associate tagged me and several others in a picture on Facebook that featured a donation jar for a cause she is raising funds for. I went to the link provided, made a donation, thanked her for raising the funds, untagged the photo, and then said in a comment that I was “happy to donate, but please don’t tag me in photos where I am not actually present. I’d rather get a message. Thanks.”

She responded “^^untag yourself!” I had to look up the first symbol, but I think it means raised eyebrows.

Because she refused to accept my request (to not associate me with things that don’t actually feature my likeness or an image that is supposed to represent me without my permission), I don’t know if she’ll do it again. Because I couldn’t find an option on Facebook to block one’s “friends” from doing this, I removed her as a “friend.”

This isn’t to say that she is no longer a real-life friend, just not someone that I want to allow the ability to do such things on the Internet. I also let her know that the issue wasn’t my ability to disassociate myself, but her misuse of the ability to associate me with things.

She didn’t address this and simply thanked me for my donation. However, someone later commented that she “handled it as Miss Manners would have done by simply saying to the person to untag themselves and thanking them for their gift! Good job – Miss Manners would be proud!”

That comment gave me pause, and I thought I’d ask if this is the case. While I personally would’ve honored such a request (as I’ve seen them from others) because I think it good manners, maybe I’m off-center here. What say you?

GENTLE READER: That there ought to be a way for Miss Manners to untag herself, so to speak, from people who claim to act in her name. You are the one in this case who acted as Miss Manners would have done. She would never have posted anyone’s picture without permission, but once that was done, mannerly behavior calls for an apology.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited to an old friend’s bridal shower. It has been about five years since I last spoke to her in any meaningful way, even though she has become friends with my cousin and future sister-in-law. Over the years, I have tried to maintain contact, but she never answers my emails, or responds in a cursory manner.

My concern is that she is registered at some very pricey stores, where no gift is under $200. Attending the shower of this “long-lost friend” would require my traveling four hours, making arrangement to have our pets and animals watched, and making arrangements for a delicate health situation I am experiencing (all of which she knows about through my family).

Furthermore, we haven’t even received an invitation to the wedding. Am I justified to be miffed at this seeming lack of graces and downright fishing for gifts, or am I being overly sensitive? Will I be in breach of wedding etiquette if I do not send an expensive gift to the shower, even if I decide not to attend?

GENTLE READER: You go to a shower, you bring a present. You don’t go, for whatever reason, you don’t bring a present. Why people mistake invitations for bills, Miss Manners cannot imagine. Nor why anyone would even consider accepting an invitation from someone she clearly no longer likes.

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