3/14/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

As reader asks, “Dear Amy, what do I do about nosy Facebook friends who just refuse to drop a subject that is none of their business?” See what Ask Amy has to say.

Dear Amy:

Last week I had major surgery on my back.

The morning of the surgery, I posted on social media: “Wish me luck, I’m having back surgery today.”

All my friends wished me luck, sending their prayers and positive thoughts.

A friend with whom I worked with 35 years ago asked, “What happened? Fill us in. What is wrong with your back? Need details!”

I ignored that.

They sent me a card. I thanked them via private message. That generated more nosy questions: “Was it this? Is this why you stopped running? What happened? Did this happen suddenly? Are you in a lot of pain?”

My back surgery was totally unrelated to an old leg injury I had four years previously.

I was miserable from side effects from anesthesia and pain meds.

This really rubbed me the wrong way. No one else had to know all the “deets.”

I wrote the name of my surgery and expected them to just Google it, but they were persistent. I was abrupt and replied tersely that it was not the former leg injury, it was not sudden and that I’d been in pain for a while. I didn’t give them more details.

What does one say to nosy Facebook friends asking for details on a personal situation like this?

I wanted to say, “What, are you writing a book?” or, “Why do you need to know the details?” but I didn’t want to get confrontational while I was crabby and in pain.

– Just Say: Get Well Soon!

Dear Get Well Soon!:

The complication regarding sharing personal news on social media is that once you put your bulletin out there, you can’t control how other people interpret your news, respond to it, or share it with others.

Your interpretation of “nosy Facebook friends” might be someone else’s: “I’m interested in what’s happening to you – because I care.”

Given that you want to control how people respond to you, you could have been more specific in your original posting: “Wish me luck. I’m having back surgery today. I’d appreciate your good thoughts but am not supplying details just now. I’ll check back in during my recovery.”

And then you turn off Facebook until you feel well enough to cope with questions.

Please remember this: Just because someone asks a question on social media doesn’t mean that you have to answer it. Just let it float on by.

Related: Guidelines for sharing an illness on social media

How to announce a loved one’s death on social media

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from when a spouse demands immediate attention to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. 

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

Click here to read more Ask Amy columns curated for a baby boomer audience. 

Amy Dickinson