1. BC

    This is kind of a weird situation. My dad and his girlfriend recently took my sister and I to a concert. We thanked them profusely, texted our thanks after the show on the way home. A few weeks later my dad confronted me about the fact that I didn’t publicly thank them on Facebook, and that I didn’t take and tag pictures of them at the event. He went on to bring up past events that I didn’t “publicly” thank his girlfriend for, even in situations where I sent a thank you note. He continues to reference my Facebook, like “Oh I see you thanked so-and-so for that, why can’t you do that same sort of thing for us?” I’m furious about the whole thing and ready to delete both of them right now, because I’m not happy about my Facebook posts being used against me. There are another two concerts coming up that they already bought tickets for (never asked them to) and while I am indeed INCREDIBLY grateful that they did that for us, I feel like the second they have Internet access they’ll be checking my Facebook to make sure I properly thanked them. I don’t want to be constantly harassed for not expressing gratitude the exact way that they want me to. And my dad doesn’t want me to talk to his girlfriend about it…he wants me to pretend that I don’t know anything about her Facebook-thank you-issues and just act like everything’s normal to make her happy. Any advice on dealing with this situation would be greatly appreciated.

    • This reminds of me of the South Park episode about Facebook…

      You thanked them in person, then again via text. I’d say you’re in the clear; however, your dad evidently disagrees. I suggest telling him that your relationship with him is much more important than a superficial internet one, and you would never dream of being so public about long-standing close relationships. If it’s his girlfriend, though, who is the impetus behind this FB-thanking push, then I would tell him that you wonder if she has better things to do besides lurking on your FB account. As for taking and tagging pictures, unless you are a photographer, you are not responsible for taking others’ pictures. Most people let others tag themselves in pictures taken at concerts and parties (due to concerns about privacy).

      If you feel courses of action such as the preceding will not help matters, then after the next concert, send a hand-written thank-you. I can’t imagine anyone being so rude as to find fault with that.

    • Chocobo

      I agree, try a hand-written thank you instead. I wonder what the motivations are behind your father’s anger. If it is being publicly recognized for good deeds and letting everyone in your circle know about his and his girlfriend’s generosity, then he will likely remain angry about not being thanked to the world on Facebook. If it is simply because he wants to be thanked more than via text — which is admittedly not enough thanks for such a large gift — then the handwritten note should more than fulfill his desire. Try a follow-up handwritten note to your father and his girlfriend next time and see whether he still cares about Facebook. If he does, I would suggest putting him and his girlfriend on the “restricted view” list.

    • Jerry

      What an insecure and controlling woman your dad appears to be dating.

      I would look at the problem a little differently. The next time dad or girlfriend offer you tickets to anything, say “no.” Bring up the prior confrontations, explain that you feel uncomfortable accepting their hospitality given some of the history, but that you hope they have a good time. (And if you make this statement in front of girlfriend . . . well . . . perhaps she and dad shouldn’t have made such a big deal of things.) Alternatively, if you’re not ready to give up the tickets, you really ought to suck it up and thank your benefactors in the manner they want to be thanked. It’s such a small thing and it doesn’t cost you anything.

      Unfriending them on Facebook to avoid thanking them in the way they prefer will only make you seem like a sullen, immature teenager.

      • Eric

        I agree with Jerry in regards to his FB comment. If you drop friend status or restrict them it makes you look bad and will likely make the situation worse in some way.

        First, I would tell your father that you expressed your gratitude several times and meant it sincerely each time. Next, I would set a clear FB boundary. I would state that it is not your responsibility to placate your father’s girlfriend via FB. What you do with your account is your own business. Note again that you already thanked him for his generosity and whether the thank you was made privately or in public is irrelevant. Lastly, recognize that your father seems to be wrestling with some dignity or self-esteem issues here. The fact that your father wants a public thank you has nothing to do with the thank you per se. He wants public recgonition; he wants status. As Jerry noted, the act is rather controlling, and your father should be ashamed for putting his girlfriend’s demands to you. Therefore, you might reflect your father’s behavior back at him and attach it to a feeling of your own. Perhaps something like…”Dad, I can see that you feel you are owed a public recognition of gratitude here, but I feel that I have thanked you on numerous instances for your generosity. When you critique me for not thanking you in the right way it’s hurtful to me. It suggests that you don’t value how I express my gratitude for your generosity, and this frustrates me deeply. It’s becoming a wedge in our relationship.” Or something to that effect.

        In other words, I think you owe it to yourself to set clear boundaries regarding public discourse. I also think you owe it to yourself and your father to express your feelings towards his actions in a clear and tactful manner. In the end, Jerry’s advice might just be the easiest: give your father the public recognition he desires. However, if doing their bidding will only lead to resentment, refusing future ticket requests and directly communicating your feelings in a nonconfrontational manner is your likely best option.

        • Jodi

          In terms of doing as your father asks and showing your gratitude on facebook, you could post something along the lines of “Dad and girl friend took me to see ____ and it was wonderful! Dad, I know I said thank you you in person, several times, and I did send you an email to express my appreciation, as well as a pretty, handwritten note card, but I want to make SURE you know that I am grateful for the _____.”

          Think about the possible comments that may come as a result of this … “Gee, talk about going overboard with the thank yous!” or “Enough already!” or perhaps even “Stop sucking up!” Of course, it might not hurt to quietly ask a few people to make a comment on the post. It might be interesting to see if your dad has a change of heart about the public expression of gratitude after this happens once or twice. The key would be absolute sincerity on your part … along with a bit of gushing!

        • Jerry

          The problem, Eric, is that you cannot accept someone’s generosity on the one hand and then refuse to thank them in the way they want to be thanked on the other. That’s the very definition of rudeness!

          A purpose (although not the only purpose) of etiquette is to set up a system of protocols to make others feel good so that they will want to continue to do you favors. And from her conversation with he father, BC knows that the best way to make her benefactor feel good is to issue a thank you on Facebook. It is irrelevant that BC has issued a thank you through other media: there is no way BC can actually win an argument with her benefactors as to the appropriate way to issue thanks. As the one for whom a favor has been done, (i.e., as the weaker party) she needs to make accommodations, not the other way around.

          (Note, the answer would be different if BC had done the girlfriend a giant favor, and the tickets were girlfriend’s way of thanking BC. Then BC could rest on her written thank you note and legitimately claim that she had no obligation to issue thanks on Facebook given that girlfriend was repaying a favor.)

  2. Vanna Keiler

    Hi BC. I would resolve the issue by simply un-friending both of them on Facebook. This way, you get your privacy and the issue is resolved for future concerts. If the invitations dry up as a result after, you will know they were given for superficial, social standing – not to enjoy your and your sister’s company. There are other ways to communicate besides Facebook – email, text, telephone…in person! So it should not be the end of the world for them if they are not in your Facebook circle. I have unfriended family in the past only because I was uncomfortable reading their posts and those of their friends, and similarly did not necessarily want them to see my every social move either. But to each his own. :)

  3. Alicia

    I’d send them a thank you via facebook message it seems that this is the method of communication they prefer. I would not do it on my public facebook wall but through a private facebook message. The older generation are sometimes wierd about facebook and consider it closer to public affirmation of importance. I would then restrict them both them or restrict your posts to facebook.

  4. BC

    Thanks for your advice. I have sent handwritten thank you notes in the past and I guess they still want public recognition for some reason. I put them on my restricted list and I will continue to send handwritten notes. We’ll see how well that goes over.

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