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Public praises of family members on Facebook

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This is a phenomenon I'm curious about.  I have a few friends on Facebook who do this regularly. 

So what I mean is this.  For example, if it's their wife's birthday, they'll post a long dedication to their wife:  "Happy Birthday to the love of my life, to the one who gives me hope, to the one who brings me joy, to the one who.... blah blah blah."  Or on their anniversary:  "To my best friend.  I'm so blessed to have met you and have you as the father of my children... blah blah blah."  Or their children's birthday:  "Happy birthday to my daughter, for all the joy she brings to us and others, for her sense of humor that brings a smile to everyone's face, for the love she brings to our family...  blah blah blah."  Generally, these are people whose entire families do this.  So, each family member will then do it for their parents' anniversary, for each other's birthdays, etc.  You have multiple family dedications going on regularly!  

These aren't families that brag.  They're very sweet and kind, and they love hearing about other people too.  But why make public all of these praises that seem so personal?  Why do they want everyone else to read them?  It truly is baffling to me.  Maybe I'm the weird one for not getting it.  I do get doing it for a one-of-a-kind event, or a special honor that you want friends and family to know about.  But this seems more personal, like a love letter that you're posting for everyone to read.

 

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I don't Facebook, but I presume that they want others to know why and how they appreciate their loved ones.  Sort of like at a rewards ceremony.  I would assume that their loved ones feel loved when these things are posted if they continue to do it.  (It's personally not my style but I could see how it could be appreciated by some.)

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2 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I don't Facebook, but I presume that they want others to know why and how they appreciate their loved ones.  Sort of like at a rewards ceremony.  I would assume that their loved ones feel loved when these things are posted if they continue to do it.  (It's personally not my style but I could see how it could be appreciated by some.)

That's a nice way of putting it.  I'm sure their family members certainly feel loved when reading them!

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This could also be part of the shift I am seeing from what once was a private realm to everything being public / online. Our virtual lives are an open book. People sort of forget what "online" means OR they have forgotten what "private" means.

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I dunno ... I don't do it, but I generally think it's kind of sweet when people do.  To me, it is a reminder to appreciate the people we often take for granted.  And to let them know we appreciate them.

I do get a little annoyed by people who post their toddler's WEEKLY birthday and gush about how blessed they are ... or the one (happens to be the same mom) who keeps harping on the fact that every one of her school-aged kids is a gifted straight-A student.  ?  I mean we have to hear this at least monthly about all of her kids.  ?   With a few minor exceptions, most people aren't too extreme. ?

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It's kind of like a public toast, just a nice thing. Also it's a declaration that the person is important to the person posting. People approach Facebook in different ways, but for some people there is a lot of self revelation, which is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's fine.

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I do this (well, sort of; I’m not that gushy). Not only do I (obviously) not mind it, but I like it when others post them. It sure beats all the ugly crap some people post on FB. I don’t generally do it for each and every family member, but I always post Happy Birthdays to my kids and I generally do say something for DH’s birthday and our anniversary. (Not very gushy, but something.) With my kids, some of it is because, having done it once for one kid, it does become important (to me) that the other kids get the same acknowledgement. 

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I am not on FB but have seen it.  I don't get it either.   But I am very private and introverted and so those public displays of affection just make me uncomfortable.  I would much prefer a private e-mail, card, or even phone call (and I hate talking on the phone!).

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I actually enjoy seeing my friends gush a bit over their kids' milestones, some of which are hard-won. The anniversary posts are usually once a year, same with birthdays so I don't mind those either. I don't know anyone who does it constantly so maybe that colors my view. My only personal *hmph* is when people say this is the best DH/DD/DS/whatever in the world. I think one can tout the wonders of someone/something without implicitly suggesting others are less than. I like seeing my friends' successes and happiness.

Edited by Sneezyone
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I like seeing them.  Ok, the overly braggy, gushy ones kind of make me gag, But, then again, those people make me gag in person.  I don't have much of a life in person, so fb and here are the only interaction I get with anyone outside of my 4 walls (other than being annoyingly chatty with people in stores.)  So, I post things when I have something positive to say, or news from our family, or birthday or anniversary wishes.  But, my posts are only visible by friends (and friends of anyone I tag) and I keep that list fairly tight.  

 

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26 minutes ago, peacelovehomeschooling said:

I am not on FB but have seen it.  I don't get it either.   But I am very private and introverted and so those public displays of affection just make me uncomfortable.  I would much prefer a private e-mail, card, or even phone call (and I hate talking on the phone!).

I suppose that's part of it for me too.  I'm not a major introvert, but I'm quite private.  And, I think my kids would be really embarrassed if I did that!  I suppose it's just the family culture.

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1 minute ago, Seasider too said:

I enjoy short shoutouts. But the long, overly emotive ones aren't my favorite. They sometimes seem too personal, kwim?

Yes, that's kind of what I'm talking about.  They just feel so private sometimes!

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Personally I don't like any long post on facebook.  I guess I have a short attention span.  If you can't say it in 10 words or less, I probably don't have time for it.  ?

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42 minutes ago, Quill said:

I do this (well, sort of; I’m not that gushy). Not only do I (obviously) not mind it, but I like it when others post them. It sure beats all the ugly crap some people post on FB. I don’t generally do it for each and every family member, but I always post Happy Birthdays to my kids and I generally do say something for DH’s birthday and our anniversary. (Not very gushy, but something.) With my kids, some of it is because, having done it once for one kid, it does become important (to me) that the other kids get the same acknowledgement. 

I post these types of things on Facebook as well. Not super gushy, but I usually write something meaningful for my mom and Dad, my husband, and my bff. Just a little shout out to say I love you and think a lot of you. Many of my friends do the same, so it doesn’t seem weird (to me, at least). 

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I don't do Facebook, but I have some family members who do.  My mom will post things like this about me on my birthday and it is NOT for my benefit because she knows I am not on FB and won't read it; my kids tell me about it and about all of the people who respond to her post telling her to tell me happy birthday.  

She will also make comments like it was X's birthday today and her mom didn't post on FB about it.  Or Y posted a picture of her son on FB and Y's mom didn't comment about how cute he was; that must be because Y's mom doesn't like Y's husband...  

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I've wondered about that too. I mean, why not just go tell your dh, "Happy Anniversary, Love of my life!"? People can tell what you think of him by how you treat him and by how you talk about him all year long. Same with your kids - just go tell them Happy Birthday! Again, people already know your children are special to you.

But I do enjoy when people do a small brag on something amazing that their kid just did/accomplished. Like joined an honor society. Scored an amazing score on the ACT/SAT. Accepted to their reach college. Got a job. Whatever. 

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Seems like a personal preference.

Reminds me of this: When my foo gets together for a birthday the cards get passed around...open the card, pass it to the person next to you.

My late bil saw cards as private and so he opened his cards then put them back in the envelope and did not pass them on.  When he got passed a card he passed it along without looking.

I prefer short posts on fb so I do give birthday shout outs and a photo but nothing long.

Edited by happi duck
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10 minutes ago, Just Kate said:

I post these types of things on Facebook as well. Not super gushy, but I usually write something meaningful for my mom and Dad, my husband, and my bff. Just a little shout out to say I love you and think a lot of you. Many of my friends do the same, so it doesn’t seem weird (to me, at least). 

The one gushy shout out I saw once that blew my mind was a teen daughter doing a shout out for her mom’s birthday. It was awe-inspiring! If any of my kids want to gush on me like that on their wall, be my guest. *April 8. Just sayin’. 

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FB shout outs aren't my thing. They seem showy or insincere to me. But, then again, I'm not much for shout outs in person, either, so...

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I find it obnoxious too.  And I have no trouble gushing over someone in person.

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1 hour ago, Just Kate said:

I post these types of things on Facebook as well. Not super gushy, but I usually write something meaningful for my mom and Dad, my husband, and my bff. Just a little shout out to say I love you and think a lot of you. Many of my friends do the same, so it doesn’t seem weird (to me, at least). 

 

I do this, too.  Not over the top, just something short and sweet.  I like it when others do it as long as it's not constant.  I'd rather see that than pictures of every meal someone eats or status updates like, "putting on my pjs and going to bed."  

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1 hour ago, Rosie_0801 said:

I think it must be a 'words of affirmation' love language thing.

Yes! That makes perfect sense! 

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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

 

I do this, too.  Not over the top, just something short and sweet.  I like it when others do it as long as it's not constant.  I'd rather see that than pictures of every meal someone eats or status updates like, "putting on my pjs and going to bed."  

My least favorite is vaguebooking. There’s really only on “friend” of mine who does it a lot, but she’s a relative, so I put up with it. But always posts like, “VERY annoying! It happens EVERY time!” 

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16 minutes ago, Quill said:

My least favorite is vaguebooking. There’s really only on “friend” of mine who does it a lot, but she’s a relative, so I put up with it. But always posts like, “VERY annoying! It happens EVERY time!” 

 

Oh yeah, that is super annoying.  Or the person will be super dramatic about something and then, when people express concern, they will reply that it's no big deal.  I try to remember that everyone has the right to post anything they want and it's not my place to judge.  And some people just really need attention.

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Those posts either bore me or make me feel uncomfortable.  I haven’t bothered to tease out exactly why they make me uncomfortable, but they do.  So, I read the first couple of words and then scroll past them without much more thought.

I have a friend who lists her kids’ grades every year.  I think that’s weird.  “Little Hortense got an A in English and Math and a B+ in Science!”  That just comes across as too braggy to me and I also wonder as the kids get older if they’ll be resentful that such (what I consider to be) personal information was shared with EVERYone.

Edited by Garga
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Thank you! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who is uncomfortable reading long, sentimental, personal posts. (Like a previous poster, I scroll on pretty quickly.) I don't think they're offensive or that the posters are wrong to post, so I have felt kind of guilty at my reaction. I agree that, for me, it is way too personal, but everyone is different. I would have been uncomfortable posting things like pregnant belly pictures when I was expecting too, years before FB, so, put me in the private, introvert camp.

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Well, I guess I'd be making most of you uncomfortable then! Lol but to each his own. I'm not really fb friends with people I don't know fairly well or at least have some shared history with, so I don't feel it is sharing something private to praise my loved ones. I agree it is a words of affirmation thing for some. 

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Interesting. It doesn't strike me as something private to express admiration for and appreciation of someone.  And frankly, I'd rather it be specifics of what you appreciate about that person to make it seem more personalized than the catch all"you're Ah-MAzing, it's Ah-MAzing, we're Ah-Mazing" that seems to be the default. It authenticates the intent- I love you is made more validated by saying I love your kindness, generosity and honesty....    So yes, it strikes me as a public toast kind of thing. 



 

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5 hours ago, happi duck said:

Seems like a personal preference.

Reminds me of this: When my foo gets together for a birthday the cards get passed around...open the card, pass it to the person next to you.

My late bil saw cards as private and so he opened his cards then put them back in the envelope and did not pass them on.  When he got passed a card he passed it along without looking.

I prefer short posts on fb so I do give birthday shout outs and a photo but nothing long.

That's funny, because I never really get the passing around of birthday cards either!  Maybe for a child's birthday, but when you're older and people write very personal notes in them, it seems like they shouldn't be passed around...  But I can see that's definite whatever the family culture happens to be.  

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4 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

I think it must be a 'words of affirmation' love language thing.

You're probably right.

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LOL, here's the type I don't get:  "Congratulations to the City All Stars! They won 1st place in the t-ball tournament for 3-4 year-olds!  Way to go, boys!"  Obviously "the boys" aren't the truly intended recipients. ?

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10 hours ago, Garga said:

Those posts either bore me or make me feel uncomfortable.  I haven’t bothered to tease out exactly why they make me uncomfortable, but they do.  So, I read the first couple of words and then scroll past them without much more thought.

I have a friend who lists her kids’ grades every year.  I think that’s weird.  “Little Hortense got an A in English and Math and a B+ in Science!”  That just comes across as too braggy to me and I also wonder as the kids get older if they’ll be resentful that such (what I consider to be) personal information was shared with EVERYone.

 

I can tell you exactly why they make me uncomfortable. It's because when I was a kid my dad always taught me that people who brag the most are always the most insecure and/or flat out liars. In his case what irritated him most was bragging about military accomplishment, inevitably those who bragged about whatever they did in Vietnam were lying. Those who had a lot of medals were quiet about the war. But I've found that same dynamic to be true in my life too.  And bragging about how great your husband is on social media seems similar, like those who do so are the most likely to be trying to convince themselves. There are exceptions, some people manage to share something without bragging, but those are probably 25% of that kind of post or less IME. In my life the worst and most obnoxious cases of this sort of behavior are done because they've already ended in divorce.

It's like people who spend $100,000 on a wedding and then go on to have fancy annual vow renewals. If you care more about investing in a show than investing in a relationship, your focus is on the wrong thing. Heidi Klum and Seal were probably the most public example of this.

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14 hours ago, peacelovehomeschooling said:

I am not on FB but have seen it.  I don't get it either.   But I am very private and introverted and so those public displays of affection just make me uncomfortable.  I would much prefer a private e-mail, card, or even phone call (and I hate talking on the phone!).

This is me exactly.  I think it's a private thing that ought to stay private.  It also makes me cringe when I know there are mutual friends who are really hurting.  For example, someone posted about how wonderful her husband was at the same time that a mutual friend's husband had left her.  Let's rub salt in the wound, shall we? There are probably others who are going through difficulties in their lives as well who aren't sharing them publicly, but to whom these types of tributes increase their loneliness and hurt.  It's hard enough to share when there are struggles in your life without feeling as if 'everyone' else has it all together.

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I don’t do any of that online.

I think dh would be over the moon if I did it for him. Because he loves public recognition whereas I really hate it. A polite private “thanks for not being a turd in my life” is good enough for me. I would be a bit upset over making things a big todo public surprise.  My FB doesn’t even say when my birthday is. For a reason. 

My husband did put a long post about how wonderful I was on my Facebook page earlier this year. It didn’t go over well with me. I was sitting across the room from him when he did it and I looked up and said, “I’m right here, so were you saying that for me or so you could look good to other people online?” 

He said no, he just felt like he needs to build me up and hasn’t shown enough appreciation for me.  Meh.  That’s not the way to do that for me.  It’s actually counter to that goal for me.

 

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I see it a lot.  It doesn't bother me exactly - people can do what they want - but I don't read through them.  I just kinda roll my eyes, particularly when it's a parent listing all the wonderful virtues of their perfect kid, while of course omitting all the characteristics/behaviors the parent complains about.  When my kids were new to facebook, I would post something on their birthdays - short, like "Happy birthday to my favorite daughter" (yeah I have only one). They actually asked me not to do it anymore.

I tend to be suspicious when I see a husband/wife doing it.  Many times right after seeing someone put up a long gushy post about their spouse, I have found out they are separating/divorcing.  I don't think I am the only person who has noticed this phenemenon.  

One of my siblings always posts a long thing on our mother's birthday as a memorial. I think she (sibling) likes the comments it garners. Makes her feel like a good daughter. Don't know how my mother would have felt about it. 

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Usually I don't mind them, or think they're kind of sweet. In one case, it's an interesting look into the life of high school classmate who has a child with a rare genetic disorder that he'll probably die of. It certainly raised my awareness of the disorder and I think it's pretty amazing what the husband and wife do to support each other.

OTOH, I have a couple of friends who just cannot stop bragging about their kids. I recently stopped using FB (password didn't make it during a browser transfer, and I didn't care enough to retrieve it), and every.stinking.day. I get an email from FB that features one of those friends bragging on their kids. They're homeschoolers, so it's usually about their strong academics, Latin or other homeschool-y subjects, or an idyllic peek into the homeschool lifestyle. These emails all get sorted into my social folder, so I'm not being bombarded by them; it's just kind of funny to click over to that folder and see a huge list of stuff from just a couple of people, all about bragging about their kids.

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I find it weird. I'm a private person and the one time my mother posted a public birthday greeting to me, I was uncomfortable. It was a bit over the top though. I hate being the center of attention.

Also, I have this one friend whose marriage was a disaster. She was very open about it being a disaster. They fought constantly, in front of the kids, and in front of the kids she would talk about it to all her friends. It was awkward and we tried once or twice to point out that the kids were there, but she shrugged it off and said, "They see all this stuff every day." Yikes. But yeah, she'd post all this over the top lovey stuff about her husband on Facebook. It was weird. I wondered who exactly was the audience for those because anyone who knew her well knew the truth and there were lots of us.

I try to remember that it's not all fake. There are people I know that I'm almost certain have very good relationships that also post this kind of message. ? But if I don't know them well, I always wonder. ?

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13 hours ago, Quill said:

My least favorite is vaguebooking. There’s really only on “friend” of mine who does it a lot, but she’s a relative, so I put up with it. But always posts like, “VERY annoying! It happens EVERY time!” 

Ooh.  Or the obvious Inside Jokes vaguebooking!  It is like shoving it in my face that I am not a good enough friend to know what is really going on.  

And while we are the subject of online praises, I'd much rather have that than the constant complainers.  I had this one fb friend who would moan and complain about packing for Disney 3 times a year and her 2 overseas family vacations a year and how she has to schedule all of this around her busy attorney lifestyle and how her kids and dh are so useless when it comes to packing.  I wanted to scream "control freak, much?"  How about be thankful that you can do all of these things and pray for those who are happy that their children were still alive in the morning.  

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I do birthday posts in memory of my mom, dad, and sisters.  I'm not trying to be a good daughter/sibling.  Fb is the best way to share that I'm especially missing them and receive support from friends and family.  It also spills over to real life and gives me a chance to share and receive support irl.  "I saw on fb..."

 

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Why not just call a loved one and say "Happy birthday/anniversary/congrats on the XYZ."  That's the part that baffles me. 

Or send a text. I hate talking on the phone, but I'll text my family stuff before putting it on FB. 

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I don't mind them horribly but I'm also not a fan.  My general thoughts on using facebook are if I wouldn't stand and say or show that in the group of people that see my posts, I won't post about it.  I generally use it as kind of a living photo album and event calendar.   But people can use their feed however they want.  I may hide your post, or unfollow, or possibly unfriend if you're often mucking up my feed with this kind of thing.  

I'm also very sensitive to how a post may make someone feel, especially in terms of relationships and inclusion. Like I will see these homeschool mom nights out with a post like "I have the bestest homeschool mom friends ever!" with an event a number of moms on the periphery were not invited to but are seeing their outing.  Same moms are happy to come to events others plan with open invites.  Have all the fun personal events you want.  But I don't get rubbing it in everyone else's face.  I do not normally post when I'm out with friends or a group of friends unless it was some sort of open invite event.  I also don't post about my kid's small birthday parties, etc because I can't invite every kid we'd like to everything.   My DH would be mortified if I droned on and on about him on FB.  So would most of my relatives.  I'm a fan of the personal call and celebrating with them in person.  

That said, I know some people hate vacation pictures.  Well, I love seeing other people's vacation pictures.  For social media in general, I feel like it's about tone.  If someone's feed generally has a bragging, one up, over sharing tone well that just gets old pretty fast and I'm probably going to unfollow you before long.   And maybe unfriend depending on how well I know you in real life.   Vague booking is right up there for me.  

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FuzzyCatz -- I agree about exclusion as well.  If the invitations are closed, keep it closed.  It's one of my pet peeves.  It doesn't really matter to me because I don't care about it for myself, but I care a lot when it's one of my kids who has been excluded.  

I'm not a fan of the vacation pictures either though. My aunt and uncle used to go on amazing vacations and then come back and rave about it and show us all the pictures.  My dad was a dairy farmer.  There was no way we could ever leave long enough for more than a short fishing trip, although I'm sure my mom would have enjoyed traveling.  She never said much about it, but it occurred to me later that it was probably a discouragement to her.  In the same way, my sister only shows pictures on FB of fun parties and great vacations. While I can be happy for her, it does sometimes make it harder for me to be content when my path in life has taken me on a drastically different trajectory. 

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I have a family member that gushes on father's day or birthday or anniversary about her husband. But they seriously have the worst relationship, and in person she is always tearing him down. She complains about everything he does. On FB their relationship and home is perfect. I really think she believes she is able to give the vibe of picture perfect Christian on FB. But I have noticed she lies all the time. An example: She is expecting and having health issues. The other day posts how God answered prayers and she feels better. Husband is on phone with my husband (it was on speaker) saying she is in bed feeling bad and he has to get home soon to take care of the other kids. All about 15 minutes after her post. 

She gushes about her parents too. And they seriously are the most overbearing and too involved parents I know. Or her kids need to be bragged on for being great at school. However, she always skips praising one kid...... This year on FB she was talking how great her son is at math, just a natural. Well, yeah in person I find out he is scribbling out the math problems so he can't do it. But everything is perfect on FB! She also uses FB to promote her views on birth control and large families. Basically always saying how easy and great a big family is. 

 

This family memeber makes me not want to post on FB any praises for my family. So I usually only post a picture on our anniversary date out and say we have had a great x number of years together. 

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If it's short, sweet, not overly gushy, and occasional, I don't mind it at all. The people who go on and on often in syrupy way a are improving my scrolling skills.  It's not something I do. I don't mind an occassional long FB post, it's the people who regularly make long posts that irritate me.

I did have one of my adult kids write a FB message about me at the end of her first semester in cc publicly thanking me for how I homeschooled her and apologizing for all her complaining about it at the time, which felt a little weird but appreciated by me. I'm a fairly private person. It was long because she was contrasting how some students hadn't been well prepared but she could see why I had emphasized formal logic, Latin/Greek Word Roots, high quality literature, writing, and a respectful representation of different worldviews and life styles.

A few weeks ago she posted something about how when she was a kid I taught the kids to break a big job, like cleaning up the playroom, into little jobs by putting strips of colored construction paper into a paper bag, drawing one out, and cleaning up any item with that color on it and then repeating the process until all the colors had been picked and all the items put away.  It was a Thanks, Mom kind of thing because she was overwhelmed with some household management stuff and made a list, picked something easy to do, and didn't have to worry about anything else on the list until the first thing she picked was done.  Most of her FB friends don't know she's transitioning from one anxiety med to another, so she was feeling really stressed at that point and it was one coping strategy.

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6 hours ago, Katy said:

 

I can tell you exactly why they make me uncomfortable. It's because when I was a kid my dad always taught me that people who brag the most are always the most insecure and/or flat out liars.

Hmm..but it's not posting wonderful things about yourself - that would be bragging. It's complimenting someone else. Saying how wonderful my mother is as a person isn't bragging, it's expressing admiration and complimenting HER, not me, you know?

Praising others is not the same thing as bragging about yourself. 

Now, if they were saying how awesome they were to have picked their spouse or something, ok, that would be weird. 

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1 minute ago, Ktgrok said:

Hmm..but it's not posting wonderful things about yourself - that would be bragging. It's complimenting someone else. Saying how wonderful my mother is as a person isn't bragging, it's expressing admiration and complimenting HER, not me, you know?

Praising others is not the same thing as bragging about yourself. 

Now, if they were saying how awesome they were to have picked their spouse or something, ok, that would be weird. 

 

It's still trying too hard to make a public, attention-getting display of how good they have it because they are in a relationship with this awesome person. And it's often forced. Especially when a short time later the same people bragging about the relationship announce they are getting divorced. I'm certainly not saying every post like that has that tone, about a quarter of them IME are understated, genuine, and fine, and just appreciative of another anniversary or something.  But some are definitely coming from a desperate place instead of a grateful one. In one case I'm thinking of it was a bit manipulative - she was sure if she bragged about how great her DH was he would treat her better.  They got divorced less than two months later.  She'd already told me she was considering divorce before she made that post, and she barely knew me.  I seriously doubt she hadn't mentioned it to almost everyone she knew.

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