How to avoid Facebook wars with your friends

You think arguing about politics on Facebook is a social media land mine? Try sharing your opinion on child rearing and see what happens. Who knew someone could be “unfriended” at the speed of sound?


Facebook is where many parents spend their precious free time now, and for good reason. It’s a cornucopia of nostalgia, cat videos and headlines giving moms and dads relief from daily pressures.

Chase the Facebooks Memes du Jour, and you’ll forget all about your son’s tantrums or your daughter’s disastrous dance recital. Some parents do more than that. They stir up a cyber-bees’ nest with their postings. Or, worse, leave the kind of comments they’d never share if the conversation were held at, say, a neighborhood picnic.

Comments about appropriate punishments and sharing recently roiled our family’s Facebook pages. Internet trolls are the scourge of many a comments section. But what happens when a friend or neighbor you admire is suddenly seething because you share a different point of view on, say, potty training?

The following suggestions can make your Facebook chats a kinder, gentler affair.

Lurking Encouraged: It’s tempting to respond to many Facebook posts that touch upon your parenting world. Why not resist the urge and just peruse and click away?

Watch Your Tone: The nuances of humor are mostly lost in any text-only format, and even those smiley emoticons can be misleading. Consider how your comments will be read from a variety of perspectives if you’re itching to avoid a dustup.

Follow Up with a Phone Call: Don’t let a potential feud simmer until a friendship shatters as a result. Reach out to the person in question. Schedule a face-to-face lunch. Make sure that ugly Facebook fight doesn’t become the final chapter in your relationship.

Take Care in Sharing Links: Not all news sources are created equal. Avoid re-posting items from dubious outlets. And if a story sounds too absurd to be true, it probably is. Several humor sites thrive on tricking readers into thinking their goofy updates are legitimate. You’re better than that.

No Drive-By Postings: Ever feel like firing off an angry email to a boss or co-worker but were glad you didn’t the next day? The same rules apply on social media. Think before you comment. Will what you’re saying hurt someone’s feelings unnecessarily? Have you made a well-reasoned argument without finger pointing or name calling? If so, then go for it. But take a breath first.

Be Consistent: Our schedules don’t always allow us to complete a Facebook chat in a timely manner. That could spell trouble if a long delay makes someone think you’ve gone silent or are fuming over the previous conversations. If you’re in a heated conversation and must leave, let people know you’re stepping away for a spell… and why.

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