Too Connected…?March 25, 2013
Without social media I am not sure I’d be picking up the phone trying to contact people to give them my condolences. First of all, I doubt I’d have the phone numbers. Besides, I hate the telephone. But social media causes all kinds of social etiquette questions and new situations. Think about how people are having to send “Sorry but you’re not invited” announcements for weddings and parties that are public knowledge because of social media.
For example, I have one friend who announced in church that a family member passed but did not mention it on FB. Mutual friends started posting condolences. What if the person didn’t want it to be so public? People certainly would not want to cause additional pain intentionally.
Someone else who had a baby did not want information about said baby on FB due to the nature of her job.
My heart is still aching for my friend and the loss of her daughter. It was right there on FB. Eventually when the grandmother said something, I sent my condolences to her as well. Here’s the deal and dilemma: this family is large and has several ex’s in several generations but all the children seem to still communicate. This loss will surely be felt by most. But I’ve hesitated sending condolences to those in the family I know mutually (and am FB friends with) because I don’t know if they know for one thing. Obviously I would not plaster their page with “I’m sorry for your loss” if they haven’t said anything but I still hesitate to send a private note. Because, second, while children may still have relationships that is no guarantee ex’s do or that they keep in touch with ex-steps. No one needs extra drama at this time of such tragic loss.
Certainly, social media has its merits for being able to reach out at a time of loss–or joy–but the etiquette rules are so blurry.
I think it would be safe to say one should “mind their own business” and just be there for the friend when the service is announced. Social media makes everything everyone’s business. While it can be the fastest way to get the word out and stay connected, it can be the fastest way to get the word out… if you know what I mean.
Just thoughts I’m pondering as I just wish I could do or say something more than I’m so sorry. My prayers for this family have been unending.
The other thought I keep thinking about is how we always tend to say all the wrong things and often the person suffering the loss ends up feeling like they have to comfort everyone else! I posted a quip about “hug your children no matter how old they are. we are not guaranteed tomorrow.” So many started asking me what was wrong. I did say an old friend lost a child too soon … much the same way I blogged on here. But it generated “Oh I’m so sorry” as if it was my loss. Certainly many said they would pray for this family and I think that is a wonderful bonus of social media. They certainly need our prayers.
But it wasn’t about me. I don’t need comforting–I found myself making sure I was saying my heart aches for her–because it is not my heart breaking for the loss of a child. I just wanted, out of that ache, to remind people to cherish their loved ones. Life is just too short.