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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dear Annie: Whether to unfriend a negative person

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I reconnected with an old male schoolmate of mine, and we became friends. We would talk occasionally and send emails to each other. My husband passed away some time ago. This man is divorced. We have not visited with each other and live in different cities.

At first, I enjoyed chatting with him via the telephone and email. I think people tend to put their best foot forward at the beginning of a relationship, whether it be a romantic relationship or just a friendship as was the case with us.

Over time, I noticed his conversations were very one-sided. He has a negative personality. He is a “woe is me” type of person. I no longer send him emails. I think people can outgrow each other, and that’s fine.

The problem is that we are also friends on social media. Though I do not comment on his posts, he occasionally will post on my page. I would really prefer not having contact with him on Facebook, either. Would it be rude or hurtful to unfriend him? This man does not have many friends and is somewhat of a recluse. – Unsure of Unfriending

Dear Unsure of Unfriending: He’d probably feel hurt by it, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You could also block him rather than just unfriend him. That way, he couldn’t see your profile at all. But if you’re up for it, you could tell him that you’re withdrawing because his negativity gets you down. It might make him rethink his attitude. Or it might just make him cranky. In any case, you’re not beholden to his emotions. Decide what’s right for yourself.

Dear Annie: I wish you had also suggested to “My Sad Story” that she look into the help she could receive from Al-Anon. Thank you for often referring readers to this wonderful organization, which provides encouragement, strength and hope through its literature and from members experiencing the same problems. Many adult children of alcoholics find help through Al-Anon, even if the alcoholics are no longer living. They find that alcoholism is a disease they can’t cure, control or change, but that they can change themselves.

As the daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister-in-law and aunt of alcoholics, I am grateful that Al-Anon has shown me the way to sanity and serenity. Al-Anon’s website provides information on where to find meetings all over the country. Helpful and comforting information is available on the website, which includes chatrooms, where one can find help in dealing with the disease of alcoholism. – Nebraska Survivor

Dear Nebraska Survivor: You are so right. I am a huge proponent of Al-Anon and missed an opportunity to recommend it to someone whom it might really help. I’m printing your letter to correct the record and encourage “My Sad Story” and anyone else who’s been affected by another person’s drinking to try Al-Anon or another support group meeting.

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