close
close

Miss Manners: Friends’ use of capital letters on social media bothers me

Dear Mrs. Manners: I befriended an old classmate on social media. We weren’t close at school, but time passes, nostalgia sets in and sometimes you like to reconnect. This girl was as nice as a child, although not very smart, and a bit shy.

Lately she has been responding to all my messages with alternating uppercase and lowercase letters. I’m a writer, editor, and typographer, but I had to look this up to find out it was meant to convey a mocking tone. I’m baffled by my friend’s use of this style because her comments themselves are benign or complimentary. So the creepy, incoherent style doesn’t fit, or gives a sarcastic tone to her comments.

I’m not even sure she knows the real meaning of it, and only uses it because she thinks it’s cool and will make her comments stand out. If that’s the case, I don’t want to hurt her feelings by unfriending her. But if it’s really meant as a mockery, I don’t want to communicate with her anymore.

Should I just come right out and ask her what she means by it? Or should I make a general comment indicating that I know what it is supposed to mean, wait for her to read it and see if she stops?

The former. Mrs. Manners is inclined to give your friend the benefit of the doubt by silently telling her, “I noticed that your comments are often capitalized and recently discovered for myself that that is generally used to indicate sarcasm.” to transfer. I can’t imagine that was your intention, so I just wanted to point it out to you.”

This way, even if it was intentional, you hope she would take the opportunity to plead ignorance and stop. But then again, you did say she wasn’t really lucid.

Dear Mrs. Manners: I attended a book launch for a friend and drove a long way to be there for her big night. I was, I admit, a little embarrassed about having driven so far – as if I had paid too much attention to the event – ​​and I hoped no one would worry about it. Most people just said how good it was of me to come, or generally asked where I was from, which was fine.

However, one woman just wouldn’t let it go. When she asked how long my ride had been, I tried to sidestep with a vague answer, but she persisted. This went back and forth at least three times until she finally asked, “But really, how many hours?” When I answered, she gasped and acted shocked, which was exactly what I had wanted to avoid.

As I drove home all those hours, I had time to wonder how I could have handled this better. I should have patted her on the back and said, ‘It’s nice of you to ask. I need to talk to the other person.” Or what? How would Miss Manners handle it if she were pressured in the same way?

By not being embarrassed to tell a persistent stranger that your friend is worth the trip.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.