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Amy Alkon


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Will Onesies Never Cease?


My married friend just had a baby and posts what's essentially the same "Look how cuuute!" shot on Facebook several times daily. Beyond finding this annoyingly boring, I'm 32 and unhappily single, and seeing all of her blissful pix is making me envious and resentful. Is it wrong to secretly block her photos? I feel it would be better for our friendship. — Baby On Overboard

A lot of people use Facebook to announce their accomplishments: "I became CEO of the company!" "I got into Juilliard!" And then there's your friend: "We had sex without birth control, and look at what happened!"

Of course, the fledgling CEO typically posts the good news once; there aren't hourly selfies: "Here I am teething on my new desk!" "Here I am spitting up on the sales director!" And yes, like many new parents, your friend's excitement may have led her to misplace her "Don't be boring!" filter. But as you're feeling bliss-bombed, you might keep in mind that she's sharing only the cute moments — her mini-vacations from the screaming and the sleeplessness, going online at 3 a.m. to play "Match That Rash," and the endless analysis of the cut, color, and clarity of baby diamonds — otherwise known as poo. (If a new mom's actual reality were on parade, Facebook would be renamed Buttbook.)

Sympathizing with your friend (and even working up to feeling happy for her) is actually in your self-interest. In "The How of Happiness," social psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky wisely notes: "You can't be envious and happy at the same time." Though we rather automatically compare ourselves with others, Lyubomirsky's research finds that the happiest people aren't weighed down by others' achievements; they take pleasure in others' successes and appear to judge themselves by their own internal standards. Unhappy people, on the other hand, feel deflated by their peers' accomplishments and relieved about their failures. They tend to be very focused on how much better others are doing, which causes them to feel "chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure."

To become a happier person, start acting like one — expressing generosity of spirit. Lyubomirsky's research finds that one of the most effective ways to be meaningfully happier is to do kind acts for others.

So, instead of blocking your friend, try a counterintuitive approach: Block out time to spend with her. Go over there, maybe fold a towel and put away a couple of dishes, and treat her to an interaction that doesn't end with somebody chewing on her nipple.

As long as you're in the generosity of spirit aisle, pick some up for yourself. Remind yourself that finding a partner is hard for most people. Get in the habit of taking stock of what's good in your life, and think of constructive ways to get closer to what you want. Replacing your sneery mindset with a more upbeat outlook should have you radiating the sort of positive energy that draws people — including single male people — to you. Keep that up and you should eventually find yourself married, pregnant, and the envy of every woman whose dream it is to throw up violently every morning but still look like that girl who turned into a giant blueberry in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Take A Toad Off

I'm a single woman who likes hiking, and I agreed to let a male friend set me up with his hiking-loving buddy — and then he showed me his picture. I was not at all attracted. I didn't want to seem shallow (though I guess I am), so I told him to give me his info, but I never reached out. My friend keeps asking whether the guy should call me. Is it rude to say I'm not interested based on looks alone? — No, Thanks

People who say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover won't be ending their Saturday night dodging the book's make-out attempts on their front porch. Sure, it's possible that this guy's photo doesn't entirely capture how he looks face to face. But photos are not cave drawings. If you aren't attracted to skinny blond guys, seeing a particular skinny blond guy in person is unlikely to change that. And turning down a date with a man you aren't attracted to isn't "shallow"; it's the kind thing to do — basically breaking up before the first date instead of after he's gotten attached to you. Doing this doesn't require the whole cruel truth, just enough of the truth — like "not really my type" — to send him on his way. Communicate that to your mutual friend and you'll free Hiker Guy up to focus on women he might have a chance with and free yourself up to find a man who can make your heart race — without chasing you up and down the trails with an ax.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email ( Her weekly radio show can be found at Her latest book is "Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck."




11 Comments | Post Comment
Disagree with Amy on BOTH letters today

LW1: I understand both sides here.

LW, you don't have to block your friend, but you can HIDE her posts. I do this with at least 100 people on my friend list, they don't know I hide them. If they mention me in a post, I'm still alerted, and I can still view their posts if I go to their page, but it no longer shows up on the main feed.

I do this for several reasons but they all boil down to this: the posts upset/offend/bore me. I have one friend who literally takes a picture of herself every morning to show her outfit... now, why would I care? She's not even especially well dressed or interesting, it's just her ego. Another friend (also hidden) curses profusely in his posts and tells of his sexual conquests. BORING and offensive.

If you don't like what someone posts, hide them. Count yourself lucky it's something you can get around easily. What if she was your co-worker and you had to see new pictures at work everyday and you couldn't escape without looking like wench of the year? Just hide her.

And the times that you do see her live, gush about the baby and get the heck out of there. This has nothing to do with "happiness", although I admire you for admitting that you are jealous. That's something separate for you to work on. In the meantime, hide her from your feed.

LW2: Man. Aren't you special? Did it ever occur to you that Hiking Man may just want to go HIKING?

I'm all for collecting new friends and this is one instance where I would encourage you to reach out and get to know Hiking Man. First of all, it's safer to hike with another person, and secondly, he may know other (cuter) Hiking Men.

Contrary to popular opinion, every date does not have to end in a romantic encounter. Also contrary to popular opinion, men and women can be FRIENDS. Go hiking with him, pay your own way and cultivate a FRIEND.
Comment: #1
Posted by: nanchan
Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:49 AM
LW2-- "and I agreed to let a male friend set me up with his hiking-loving buddy"
Sounds like a date to me only you've seen what he looks like and now you have no interest in dating. If she wants someone to hike with then she should contact him and tell him she does not want to date, but would like to go hiking and that she will pay her own way.
There was a single woman that dined on a regular basis at a bar/grille I go to, we would usually chit chat so I asked her if she wanted to go see the movie "Planes" Sunday afternoon. I only wanted to see the movie because that is my profession. I picked her up and she gave me some cookies she had baked. Went to the theater and she wanted to pay her own way in I said no I asked you so she paid for the popcorn and drinks. Long story short I thought it was a date she thought it was just something to do. So make it known up front what is going on. We became friends and talk/text one another.
Comment: #2
Posted by: J
Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:18 AM
LW1 -- I think Amy makes the mistaken assumption that her two suggestions have to be mutually inclusive. I think making a point of visiting the friend is a great idea -- both because it will likely be most welcome by the friend (having a 16-month-old myself, I can attest I was thrilled by such visits), and because it's also likely the LW will get a glimpse of the not-so-blissful side of motherhood and might even out some of the envy (and might also help her be happier for her friend). But I also think there's absolutely nothing wrong with -- and, in fact, a whole lot RIGHT with -- quietly blocking her friend's photos. That someone wishes to share their every waking moment with me doesn't mean that I want to share their every waking moment.

LW2 -- Even if you WERE attracted to his photo doesn't mean you'd actually be attracted to him once you met him in person. Some photos are more flattering than real life, after all. But then again, the reverse is also true, so you could also be pleasantly surprised. Moreover, as I know from personal experience, sometimes attraction can sneak up on you, long after you'd already decided you weren't attracted to someone. I was NOT physically/sexually attracted to my husband when I met him. I went out with him anyway because I had just moved to a new town where I knew no one, so I was very much in the market for some friends. And, in fact, the first time I went out with him, I TOLD him that I wasn't looking to date anyone, but that I WAS looking for a friend. And so we became friends. It was a number of months later that we agreed to give dating a try, and now we've been married for 19 years. So, I'm not going to say you're shallow -- rather, I'm going to say that you're short-sighted. It could turn out that you will find him more attractive once you meet him person. Or, you may not, but you'll find he's someone you'd like to have as a friend. Or it might be a total bust. But you really don't know that without actually meeting the guy and getting to know him.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Lisa
Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:53 AM
LW1: Being petty is not something to be proud of so you're on the right track by feeling bad about yourself. You're unhappy being alone because you don't like or love yourself. So you want someone to love you because you won't. Basically, you're both stupid and lazy. Get some therapy - develop some self-esteem and then consider inviting someone to share your life. Once you become a little more healthy you won't care about your friend's stupid photos.
LW2: Oh for the love of God - it is not shallow to not find someone attractive. Please grow up - evolve.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Diana
Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:08 PM
LW1 -
If you're blocking her secretly and without making a fuss, then where is there a problem and why are you feeling guilty? I don't get it.

LW2 -
If I had seen a picture only of the ex-LOML at some dating venue, I wouldnt have looked at him twice (well, maybe once I got to his credentials...). Thing is, he was not my type and still isn't. And yet, I learned to love an desire him - he is the most brilliantly stimulating man I have ever met.

It is easier to judge a book by its cover than a person, although how they choose to present themselves is a reflection of their inner selves.

And Lisa is right - Just because you find a man handsome on picture doesn't mean there will be any chemistry in person. And the opposite is true - I will never forget this teacher with whom there was instant, STRONG attraction on both sides - he was married and we were both very careful to stay away from each other. But the chemistry was there, like a magnet, and again this is someone whose picture I wouldn't have given a second look. Definitely not my "type" in either case.

If you ever meet the guy, there are four possibilities.
1. It will click on both sides and you two will end up a couple;
2. It will click on one side only and one of you will be disappointed;
3. It won't click for either of you and you'll each go your separate ways;
4. It won't click romantically, but you'll become good friends and hiking buddies.

There is more to gain than to lose here. I suggest you give it a try.

Comment: #5
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:17 PM
LW1--Amy is an idiot for suggesting that you actually going over to your friend's house to help her with her baby. What a nitwit! Maybe you wouldn't be unhappily single if you got off FaceBook once in a while and actually interacted with people in real life! That would solve two of your problems wouldn't it? I don't know why on earth, other than you must have zero common sense, you would feel compelled to ask a total stranger how to handle a problem that you're causing by visiting FaceBook numerous times a day. Get off the damned computer already!

LW2--Look honey, you need to start thinking for yourself. Your first mistake was agreeing to be setup with someone sight unseen. That was just plain stupid. But, it's also water under the bridge. Once you had a look at your friend's buddy, you discovered that he didn't rev your engines. Now why on earth would you waste both your time and your friend's buddy's time by going through the charade of a date or two when you know damn well it isn't going to go anywhere? Put on your big girl pants and simply tell your friend that you weren't attracted to his buddy once you saw his photo. Then change the subject. Who cares what he thinks?
Comment: #6
Posted by: Chris
Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:46 PM
Re: Chris
"when you know damn well it isn't going to go anywhere? "
Well, this is precisely it, she doesn't know that for sure. See post above.

Comment: #7
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:10 AM
LW2 - Yes, you're shallow. But what about it? You know the guy's thinking of it as a "date." And you know, in advance, that you're not interested. It's kinder to bail at this point, than to subject yourself and the poor guy to several hours of enforced togetherness based on a deception.

If you go through with it, the poor schmuck will keep trying to impress you all through the hike, trying to figure out how to get you talking or laughing or whatever, and you'll keep stringing him along, wanting the date to end, but not saying so because you "don't want to be shallow" or "don't want to hurt his feelings." (No wonder men can't figure women out!) Just call your friend up and say you've changed your mind about the hike. If you need an excuse, and don't want to criticize the would-be date's looks, tell you friend you've decided you're taking a break from blind dating for a while. End of story.
Comment: #8
Posted by: sarah morrow
Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:48 AM
LW2: Some people like blind dates. Others don't. The LW seems like one of them, so what's the crime?

The best thing to have done on the folirst dangef place is to simply say, no thanks before any offer is made. Then no harm no foul.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Bobaloo
Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:50 PM
Re: Bobaloo
It is not the idea of a blind date that she has a problem with,it is the date's appearance. She goes by the picture, and if he looked like a movie star on that, she'd be all excited at the prospect of meeting him.

And you see, that's another thing: beauty is not everything. Not only very handsome people can be very cocky and take for granted the world should fall in their lap, but they can actually be evil. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka were very handsome. Timothy McVeigh was very handsome. The Spitzer twins were very handsome. The list goes on.

Comment: #10
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:40 AM
LW2 -- When I was searching for a good woman I went on several blind dates, that were set up by friends, and was usually disappointed. I learned quickly not to do that. Although I did have one lady friend set me up with three blind dates, one of which I got into a relationship with that lasted six months. So if the person that sets you up with the blind date knows what interests you then it is a good idea.

--When I was searching on the internet I learnt right away not to meet a woman that would not post a picture. One time I did meet a woman that refused to post a picture or send one to me via email - we had communicated for some time on the phone and would email to one another often - she was an interesting person and all she would tell me was I wouldn't be disappointed when I seen her. I drove 4 hours to the town where she lived and when I met her I was not disappointed.
Comment: #11
Posted by: J
Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:40 AM
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