Ask Amy: Lawyer's Facebook posts rile family members

December 17, 2013 

Dear Amy: My cousin is a young and ambitious attorney, but if you looked at her social networking pages you might think she was still in college. Her Facebook feed is filled with disparaging and mean comments about her secretary.

She makes fun of the questions her secretary asks, the way she looks and dresses and her work ethic. (She called it "lazy" when her secretary asked which task from a list she'd been given was the highest priority.)

She usually appends each update with a comment like, "No wonder she's just a secretary." My mother and sister both have office-support jobs. I know that they find these comments especially painful.

There are two problems here: The first, of course, is that it's inappropriate to talk about your work that way on social networking sites; the second is that she seems to hold this belief that people become secretaries because they are incompetent or inferior.

What can we say to her that will get her to realize not only how mean and hurtful she's being, but also that a secretarial job is not a consolation prize for the less intelligent?

— Flummoxed

Dear Flummoxed: When people publish objectionable public posts on a social networking site, the best way to respond is by connecting your reaction to the post on the same site.

For instance, your cousin writes something disparaging. Underneath the post, you click "comment" and respond, "Wow. I can't believe how disrespectful you are toward this person."

Social networking sites offer ample opportunities for people like your cousin to reveal themselves as obnoxious idiots, but they are also vehicles for social correction.

I assume this behavior will eventually earn her a reprimand and/or dismissal. Her comments may be actionable.

Dear Amy: "Newly Single" was re-entering the dating scene and wondered why men didn't ask for her number. The fact that guys aren't calling her indicates that she is the problem.

Nowadays, women like to play "hard to get" and refuse to answer the phone.

I used to ask for women's numbers all the time. But after being made a fool of, over and over, I've stopped. If she wants to get calls, she needs to stop acting like a child.

— Disgusted in Seattle

Dear Disgusted: Using your logic, you might examine your own attitude for why the phone doesn't ring.

 

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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