Q. I continually tell my teenage daughter she needs to be very careful about what she writes on her Facebook page. I don't think I am getting through to her, though. I have told her that when she graduates from college some day and interviews to try to get a job, her prospective employer may ask her approval to look at her Facebook page and some of her entries.
She thinks I am just fibbing and says that could never happen and by that time (hopefully six years from now), Facebook will probably be replaced by something else. I do worry, however, because I think all the crazy information and pictures these teenagers are putting out there could boomerang on them some day. Am I right?
A. Yes, you are correct. Employers have already been asking to review prospective employees' social media sources. Inappropriate language and pictures, nonsensical statements, derogatory comments and general gossip do not provide a favorable impression. They also beg the question as to whether this person has good common sense, and whether this person utilizes his time in a productive manner. Of course, the person being interviewed has the right to refuse to give his approval for the social media review. But to do so may make the interviewer think: "This person must have something to hide."
Q. What does a middle-age person say to someone who asks him why he won't text or will no longer text that person? I know what I would like to say, but that probably wouldn't go over very well. Besides, I don't have time to respond to 10 or 15 texts a day from the same person, especially when it is nothing important in the first place.
A. Try this: "Oh, Jane, I would so much rather talk to you in person over a cup of coffee or call you when I know we both will have a few uninterrupted minutes to share our thoughts or the news of the day. We also can't hear each other laugh as we tell our stories if we are texting."
Q. If someone calls me in the middle of what I feel is a very important television program, like the President's recent State of the Union speech, is it OK if I quickly answer the phone and ask if I can return the call in about an hour? Do I have to explain what I am doing? I don't think I do, but when I said that to this person, she got offended. When I returned the call in about an hour like I said I would, I got the third degree about "what was so important that you wouldn't talk to me earlier?" Maybe I shouldn't have answered the phone at all and just let her leave a message.
A. If you had not answered the phone, she probably would have called back several times during the speech, causing you even more frustration. No doubt, when you finally did answer her call, whether later in the evening, or the next day, she would have "given you the third degree" then, too, as to where you were last night? Why you didn't answer the phone if you were home? Didn't you want to talk to her?
Your action to quickly answer the call and ask if you could return the call later was the most polite course of action. If the caller is rude enough to ask you why, all you have to say is that you are busy doing something at the moment and if you could please call her back in about an hour, you would certainly appreciate it.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.