Hello Polite Readers!
This week I'd like to talk to you about Vaguebooking. For those who aren't familiar with the term, it refers to posting a purposefully oblique status on a social network, such as "I'm so annoyed right now!" or "I have a secret!" Now, some people are strongly against the idea of Vaguebooking, but I think it's one of those things that most of us have engaged in at some point, and in the right circumstances, it's OK to do. Let's look at some of the reasons why you might indulge in Vaguebooking, and the most polite ways to approach them.
1. You have some good news to share and you can't announce it quite yet, but you want to watch your friends have a guessing game about it.
This is a pretty benign form of Vaguebooking, it can be fun for everyone involved as your friends come up with crazier and crazier things that might be making you happy. Of course, if you're a woman you'll have to put up with the inevitable assumption that you're pregnant. If you are going to do this, don't make people wait too long to find out what you're talking about!
2. You're really annoyed about something someone did and you want everyone to know that you're annoyed, but you don't specifically want to explain the situation.
I consider this one of the most annoying forms of Vaguebooking. It is generally not polite to be passive aggressive. It's better to take your problem directly to the person who caused it and find a way to work it out, rather than making a snarky Facebook post.
3. You've just received some bad news that you're not at liberty to share, and you're really upset about it.
Maybe you just found out that a loved one has a serious illness but doesn't want to announce it publicly, or that your company is closing at the end of the month and you'll be out a job, but you're not supposed to know it yet. In cases like this I think it's usually best to talk about it with a trusted friend, but sometimes you might need to Vaguebook to give everyone an idea of why you're no longer posting jokes and playing Farmville.
4. You're upset about something, anything, and you want everyone to know it and to pay lots of attention to you.
Vaguebooking generally draws more attention than just posting what you're upset about. For instance, if you post "Some jerk keyed my car while I was at the bank!" you'll get a lot of sympathy about how much people suck. But if you post "Grrrr!" then you'll get a whole lot of "What's wrong? Is everything OK? Do you need something?" and then when you finally tell them about the keying, you'll get that sympathy. It can be easy to get addicted to the attention you get from these tactics, but if you over-do it, your friends will start to get frustrated with the way you post about every little annoyance as if it was a personal slight from the universe and they'll ignore you. Generally save this one for when you're really upset, you need to blow off a little steam, but you're not going to be able to explain yourself until later.
One more thing... I really, strongly suggest NOT Vaguebooking negatively about anyone who's going to read it. If you're having an argument with your mom about politics and you go post "Ugh, I can't believe how dense people are!" you're just going to make things worse. Again, if you need to blow off steam about something like that, do so privately to a friend who isn't going to share with anyone else.
If you have a situation you'd like help with, just drop a line to Politelyworded@gmail.com and your letter could be featured here!