The Facebook Etiquette of an Accidental Post
PROBLEM: I meant to comment on the Facebook post of a friend who just got married. This person is a part of my life, in a work-friend way, and I wrote ‘All the best as in your married life together, [Name].’ But instead, somehow the message got put into a comment on another friend’s engagement announcement. That second friend — an acquaintance I haven’t spoken to in many years — Liked the comment, so they have seen the wishes, complete with the wrong name. What’s the Facebook etiquette here??
KB: Dear First World-er: As with all things Facebook, this particular digital blunder is best ignored. There are several benefits to this approach: 1) You can pretend to yourself that no one noticed. 2) You can still go post hearty congratulations on your real friend’s page, because she will never know the grave insult you’ve hurled at not-really-friend. 3) If all else fails, and for some reason you decide to linger on this for longer than it’s worth, you can remind yourself that “an acquaintance [you] haven’t spoken to in many years” probably isn’t worth getting your knickers in a twist.
In short: get over it.
LG: Easy to say, KB. But Facebook messages are this generation’s nuclear waste: That shit does NOT go away and most of it’s toxic. So you have to worry about posterity. And who wants to be remembered as rude, either in the present or in the future?
If the acquaintance has already seen the message, try to pass it off as a joke or some quirky family custom. (‘Oh, we call all brides-to-be NAME! It started with my grandparents somehow. Sorry if I confused you!’)
SH: I can’t help but notice that this acquaintance, knowing that the wishes were not for her, chose to Like your little faux pas. Unless she is a serial Liker, the woman seems to have a good sense of humour, and realizes Facebook is not meant to be taken seriously. How about rekindling communication with her, and giving real friendship a shot? I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.
And P.S. If you’ve made use of the tagging system, your real, married friend has probably been roped into the confusion, too. She might deserve a second message to clear things up.
MM: As someone who suffers from a mild case of social anxiety, I can only imagine the cold sweats you might have broken into once the comment was posted. But I think you have a real opportunity to turn this around, while also spreading good cheer! (Who says you have to wait for Christmas?)
Congratulate the original friend but tagging the second one in your comment. Next, connect the two friends over Facebook message and announce your own new tradition of connecting engaged/to be married friends so they can exchange ideas on venues, shopping destinations, and all else that fills up the waking hours of brides-to-be. As a bonus, you might even be spared a shopping trip or two!
First World Problems is a funny advice column wherein The Swaddle Team weighs in on their own and others’ ‘problems.’ Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @The_Swaddle with a #FWP hashtag if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately, or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind. We’ll help you sort it out.