Ask Amy 12-15-13

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Dec 15, 2013
Dear Amy: My father recently passed away. It was sudden. I texted or personally informed my closest friends and a few days later posted a memoral notice on Facebook.

I'm now wondering if sympathy cards are passe. My mother-in law and father-in-law each sent a card to me, as did a group of my co-workers. Other than that, I've received a few brief comments on Facebook. Is this the "new normal" among my cohorts of 40-somethings?!

I really would have appreciated having something I could hold, display and perhaps save in my memory box to ease my grief. Is a Facebook "like" or "sorry for your loss" comment underneath a post the best that people can do?

I'm talking about people with whom I've had or have a substantial friendship or family connection, not my wider circle of friends. I would really appreciate your thoughts.— Grieving

Dear Grieving: My sympathy goes out to you. My own experiences with loss and grief have taught me a lot about how people do — and don't — respond. I do think that sympathy cards and handwritten notes are still very widely sent, and I agree that these personal expressions are extremely meaningful — and memorable.

However, when people are notified about a life event on Facebook, they tend to respond via that medium. This is one context where registering a "like" with a virtual (thumbs up!) gesture is actually hurtful and (I think) offensive — when surely that is the opposite of the person's intent.

The difference between your cohorts — in your 40s — and mine (50s) is that by my age, many people have experienced loss themselves. These are often the people who know from their own experience more about how to respond to others' losses.

I hope you will let your experience inform your own actions toward other people in the future. A note, a phone call, friends bearing casseroles and hugs — these are welcome and memorable gestures. There is a reason that these things are traditionally done, and that is because they work.

Dear Amy: I work in an office with a group of very amazing people. We consider ourselves an extended family.

One of my co-workers, "Stanley," is probably the kindest person I have ever known. He always has a smile on his face, or a joke, or a kind word to brighten our day. He's like a big brother to all of us, and "Uncle Stan" to many of our staff's children (mine included).

Stan has always been a big guy, but in the last year he has gained a considerable amount of weight. Many of us are increasingly concerned for his health.

Is there a graceful way to address this issue with him, as he is so loved in our office and we would hate to see anything happen to him — or do we keep quiet and hope for the best?— Worried Co-worker

Dear Worried: If you think this through — what, really, would be the purpose (and the result) of asking "Stanley" about his weight gain? Are you considering an intervention? I hope not.

So "we" should not do anything as a group. You are obviously very fond of Stan, but other than asking him, "How are you doing?" his health is his business, to share news of as he wishes.

Dear Amy: Recently a group of us went to lunch with a female friend. She ordered nothing, saying she wasn't hungry. When the food arrived, we offered to share. She decided to share.

The bill came and she did not offer to help with the bill or the tip. This happens very frequently. My friend and her husband have good jobs and make good money, so that is not the issue. How can we diplomatically suggest that she pay her way?— Hungry Friend

Dear Hungry: If you have volunteered to share, you should not then expect compensation. You can diplomatically ask for compensation by saying, "Sherry, could you pitch in for the tip?"

But if you know in advance that this is going to happen, you should not feel pressure to share your meal.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#2 Dec 15, 2013
LW1 - So, instead of sending out proper death notices on little cards with black borders, you posted the death announcement on FB. And now you are upset that people are replying on FB. Huh? Okay, the "like" on a death announcement is creepy, but hitting "comment" and posting, "Sorry for your loss," is a reply in kind to your announcement.

LW2 - MYOB. Stay out of Stan's. It's really, really, really, REALLY not your place to comment on his weight.

LW3 - "Janie, your share is $(fill in the amount here)."

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#3 Dec 15, 2013
1- Wah wah wah, send me a sympathy card!

2- Has Stan said anything about your increasingly growing @zz? No. Stay out of his business.

3- Who goes to a restaurant and doesn't order anything? But anyway, she didn't order anything! Why should she chip in on the bill?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#4 Dec 15, 2013
1."when people are notified about a life event on Facebook, they tend to respond via that medium."

Yep, or as Cheluzal might say, Word.

2. Without saying anything, consider whether office snacks are contributing. If you want to help, instead of a bowl of M&M's, have a bow of cherry tomatoes. If someone brings in sweets, make sure there is also some cut up fresh fruit.

After that, its MYOB

3.Good jobs and external lifestyle sometimes mask serious financial difficulties or a cash flow issue. My friends know when things are tight and vice versa- they are friends. We choose paces to go which allow for that.

Since its an issue for you, before you go with her the next time, mention that you know she rarely does more than nibble but can he help with the top. That allows her to bring cash or plan in advance.

Its rather like people with severe cardiac problems using a disabled parking spot- you can't see the disability but it's there and it's bad.

Salinas, CA

#5 Dec 15, 2013
LW1: What everyone said.
LW2: We invited "Big George" in our office to join our walking club. He went with us twice and gave up. So, no. There is nothing you can say or do to help Stan. He knows that he's obese and that obesity will negatively affect his health. He will do something only when he is ready.
LW3: What PEllen said

Plant City, FL

#6 Dec 15, 2013
PEllen wrote:
1."when people are notified about a life event on Facebook, they tend to respond via that medium."
Yep, or as Cheluzal might say, Word.
Word! ;p
I do not miss FB at all. And I don't text.
LW has conducted her life so impersonally, then wants everyone to be personal on her terms.
I prefer cards (I suck at holiday/birthday cards), but will give them for loss of someone close to me. But I'm crazy traditional that fear for the future generations as things get less and less communicative.

Plant City, FL

#7 Dec 15, 2013
2: He might know how big he is, but some biggies are really deluded. You see the changes gradually and don't realize how big you've gotten until you see a picture of yourself.*shrug* He's an adult though.

Kind OT: I abhor the double standard of weight. I am naturally thin and people have no problem telling me, "You're skinny" or "You should eat more." I do NOT tell people they are fat or need to eat less, even if it's true. So rude.

3: Happens FREQUENTLY? Your inability to use words has rewarded this mooch. NO more offering to share. She can freaking starve or order her onw crap. Ridiculous.
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#8 Dec 15, 2013
LW2 needs to be a friend to Stan--just as he is. period.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#9 Dec 15, 2013
LW1: What Cass said.
LW2: What Cass & edogg said.
LW3: What edogg said. Why are people offering her food? If someone comes out to lunch an does not order anything and my impression of the is that they are able to afford a meal, my assumption would be that they are simply not hungry( or don't see anything on the menu they like, or are on some special diet) but still want to come out for the social aspect. I could see offering a nibble from an appetizer(and not expect any compensation), but I would have zero inclination to say "hey, we can get an extra plate from the waiter and you can have some of my entrιe"

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