The Facebook Ex Dilemma: to unfriend or hide?

Dear Coach Bob: I was in a long distance relationship not long ago that ended supposedly due to the challenge of the distance, and him not being ready for living together if I were to relocate. We have remained very close and talk about everything in our lives except we seem to avoid discussing anyone we are seeing or involved with. He recently announced on Facebook that he is in a relationship (something he was adamant about not doing previously on social network sites) and I discovered that his new love is moving in with him. I am torn between being happy for him and feeling rather hurt by this. I got tired of reading all his lovey-dovey Facebook posts so decided to hide him from all newsfeeds and info I can see—does that sound childish and silly of me?

First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. Second, it does not sound childish or silly to hide his newsfeed. It sounds like a nice thing to do for yourself. Facebook can be an amazing and fun experience, allowing us to keep in touch with friends easily. And it can be a really hard thing for the same reason because sometimes we don’t have control over what or when we find things about our friends.

Give yourself time to heal. Just like a band-aid needs to be kept on a cut to keep it from getting more hurt while healing, so it is true about our emotions. Time does heal. Distance from a situation helps change the perspective. Perhaps in a while you will want to know about your ex and then, at that time, you can make a different decision in regards to hiding his news feeds. You might also decide at that time to go directly to his timeline instead of opting for the “surprise” newsfeed method. I would imagine this would give you more of a sense of control, something that seems you were lacking at the end of your relationship. In any case, being kind and gentle to yourself is always a good choice.

Dear Coach Bob: I have this issue at work. People come into my office all the time and interrupt me when I am working. Our office isv very friendly. I love my co-workers but it has become a real issue. I don’t want to be rude to them but I need to get more work done. Sometimes they will come in, sit down and want to talk to me for about 15 minutes or so about stuff not related to work. How do I handle this without being rude?

That’s a difficult one, especially when you work with people you really like. I could think of three possible things to do:

When it does happen, convey to them how much you love talking to them and that the present time is not the best for you. Then ask them if they would like to schedule a time to continue the conversation. My gut is that most of the time, your co-workers will say there is no need to schedule a future chat and move on. The offer, to schedule time, though, is saying, “You are important to me and I do want to hear what you have to say.”

If possible, close your door and put a sign on it saying, “Here – Available if needed.” Just the door being closed makes your co-workers pause long enough to consider whether they should knock and if what they want to say to you is really that important.

The last tip is something I learned about 2 years ago and works amazingly well. When someone comes in and sits down, stand up and leave your office. As you are chatting with your co-worker, hopefully they will follow your lead and exit with you. After a quick drink of water you can return to your office and continue your work.

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What do you think?