1. mts

    My sister struggles with depression and is actively getting help. She sees a counselor and is on medication. She has a habit of leaving unnecessarily detailed comments on posts my siblings and I make on Facebook. The comments hint at unpleasant shared memories from our childhoods (one of our parents also has mental health issues). I’ve dealt with this by deleting her comments off my Facebook page and ignoring comments she leaves on siblings’ pages. Would it be better to address these comments head on? So far, she hasn’t seemed to notice that I delete them.

    • If you are a person who doesn’t mind confrontation, then I suggest letting her know (in a private Facebook message) that a public forum is not the place for such comments, and while you can’t control what she posts on her own page, you’d rather she exercise restraint on your page. It’s simply a matter of respect. However, I’d leave any mention of depression out of it, since she is actively seeking help, and you don’t want to make it seem that you do not support her struggle.

      If you are a person who is less comfortable with rocking the proverbial boat, please continue to just delete the offending comments.

      • mts

        Just Laura — I appreciate your suggestion! It’s a delicate topic and my sister has a tendency to escalate situations so I’ll continue to just delete. But, you’ve given me some good language to use if she confront me about this issue.

    • Elizabeth

      You could also try engaging the feelings behind the behavior. It seems like she’s trying to get some kind of attention by posting this stuff in such a public forum. You might avoid beating around the bush and just ask her whether she wants to talk about anything from your childhood.

  2. Anonymous

    My boss often treats us to lunch. During these lunches he usually does two things that make me want to scream: a) reach over and take some food off my plate and/or b) give me some of his food to sample. Am I obligated to let him take control over my food or sample his food since he’s paying? Personally, I’m not the food sharing type. Plus, he often wants me to try things that I try to keep out of my diet, like pork. What’s the proper way to handle?

    • Elizabeth

      Both of the behaviors you describe are very rude, but they can also be chalked up to differences in the way you were raised, etc. I was raised to be a food-sharer (but only with my family, never in professional situations, or even much with friends). My husband, on the other hand, was not. But neither of us were raised to think it was OK to take food off of others’ plates without permission, nor is it cute or polite to keep badgering people to try things.

      The second part of your question is easier – when he offers you a sample, just politely decline and keep repeating yourself until he stops asking. “Anon, you just have to try some of my pork eggroll!” You: “No thanks, I’d rather not.” “No really, have a bite!” You: “No thanks.” “But it’s so good!” You: “No.” Him: “Why don’t you want to try it??” You: “I just don’t. I didn’t grow up that way, and I prefer not to share food. But thanks for the offer.”

      The first part is harder, though. It’s easier to refuse an offer than to stop someone stealing fries off your plate. I would recommend dealing with it away from the lunch table. A quiet face-to-face chat, or even an email might do the trick.

      Something like this: “Dear Boss, I just wanted to thank you for your generosity in treating me to lunch. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you away from the office, and have really enjoyed the lunches themselves. However, I would like to ask you a favor. Growing up, I was taught not to share food: not to take food from others or offer food from my plate. I realize that not everyone is like this, but I have to tell you that it makes me really uncomfortable when you offer me tastes and when you take food from me. I would prefer that we simply enjoy what we order for ourselves. Thanks so much for understanding. I hope that you will let me treat you for lunch this Friday! Sincerely, Anonymous”

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