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Dear Abby: Face-to-face friend refuses to like online interaction

Dear Abby: Help! Facebook is killing my social life. I am wondering if anyone else is having this experience.

I am a woman whose job requires me to be on the computer eight hours a day. The last thing I want after work is to go online. Before Facebook took over my social circle, this wasn’t a problem. But now all my friends and family are on the site and pressuring me to do likewise.

Gradually, Facebook contact seems to be replacing real, physical get-togethers. Things that used to be done in person or over the phone are now all done on Facebook, and we rarely get together anymore. If I don’t check Facebook, I am out of the loop.

If I suggest getting together, everyone is “busy” – busy on Facebook, I guess. They aren’t mad at me or avoiding me, they just want contact on their terms. Am I the only one having this problem?

Old-School in Champaign, Ill.

Dear Old-School: I’m sure you’re not the only one. The Internet is supposed to be a tool to facilitate communication, not a substitute for real, flesh-and-blood relationships. If you can’t work out a compromise with your friends and family – say, one in-person visit a month – you may have to cultivate some new relationships with other “old-school” people who also prefer face-to-face contact.

Don’t argue with the bride

Dear Abby: My father recently passed away. It was unexpected. He was my sunshine and my heart. I am devastated. Because of this, I am no longer sure I want to have a traditional wedding. It would be too sad to not share the day with Dad, as I had dreamed. My fiance and I have discussed eloping, and it seems like the right idea.

The trouble with eloping, however, is that we’d want our parents and siblings there as witnesses, and we’d like a party for friends and extended family after the nuptials. People are telling me THAT’S not eloping, and they have been looking forward to attending our wedding.

In the midst of my grief, I’m not sure how to respond to their comments. What should I do?

– Fatherless Bride in Mississippi

Dear Fatherless Bride: If you would prefer your nuptials to be a small, intimate affair, that’s what they should be. Have a reception later. Whether others were looking forward to attending your wedding is beside the point. If you are challenged for not wanting a big wedding, all you need to say is that your plans changed when your father died. No one should be able to argue with that, because your feelings are understandable.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.