Dear Amy: I have a 12-year-old daughter who belongs to a youth group at church. When she joined, the leaders asked for her cell number so they could contact her about activities.
Our daughter does not have a cellphone because we believe she is too young. The leaders then added my cell number (without my permission).
They send out a couple of text messages each week, which then end up with 15 to 20 replies because the girls use it to comment, talk, joke, etc, — completely off topic.
Each time this happens, I ask the leaders to remove my number, which they do, and then a few weeks later I am back on their list and getting the group texts again.
I have complained and asked them to stop adding me, but their most recent reply was that this is how they communicate, and they are concerned that my daughter will miss out.
Their activities are weekly and are always held at the same time.
My daughter has not missed out yet, and I am getting frustrated with having my cellphone blow up every time they start a new chain.
How do I get these leaders to show some common text courtesy without pulling my daughter from a group of friends she wants to be with?
What is appropriate texting in these situations?
— Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: Given that this is the way they notify the group about meetings, it seems prudent for you to receive texts from the youth leaders. You might want to hand your phone to your daughter for a period of time so she can participate in these conversations – or at least to confirm that she has received the message.
(Personally, I would also have a (limited) interest in what these kids were talking about — but I take it as a given that you don’t.)
You have many options. You could “block” the originating phone number (and you would not receive any calls or texts from the number).
It is very easy to turn off notifications altogether (the texts will arrive, but your phone won’t ping or vibrate); you can also “mute” texts from a specific phone number.
You could also receive the first text, take in the information, and then “leave the conversation” by clicking on that option.
Ways to perform these functions vary based on the kind of phone you use. Use an internet search to see how to reset the notifications on your specific phone.
Dear Amy: My wife and I were invited to my youngest brother’s wedding.
Due to a major age difference between us, we’ve never been close.
There’s no animosity or issues, we’re just borderline strangers to one another (I don’t even have his phone number).
If we decline the invite, my father will be extremely upset.
In order to avoid that, my wife and I have decided that we’ll attend the ceremony and leave before the reception.
My question is: How do we RSVP in this situation?
We’re not attending the reception and I don’t want them to waste money buying us a dinner we won’t be there to eat.
It may even open up a couple more spaces at the reception for friends with whom the couple is better acquainted.
— Elder Brother
Dear Elder: You state that you are not close to this brother, but only because of the age gap between you. And now this family member has invited you to celebrate an important milestone in his life.
The way to get close — or closer — is to show up for him, to become acquainted with his wife and her family, and to meet their friends.
You don’t seem to want to do any of this, however, and so you should respond: “My wife and I will be at the ceremony, but unfortunately we will have to leave before the reception. We hope you have a great time, and wish you all the very best for a wonderful celebration.”
Dear Amy: “From the Heartland” wondered how to respond to her fat-shaming friends.
Due to a chronic illness, I am underweight at five-foot-three and a hundred pounds.
Several years ago, I was with my sister-in-law at a restaurant. She ordered her lunch, and I ordered soup.
The server commented, “Sure, skinny-mini will just have soup.” To this day, I regret not speaking with her supervisor.
— Donna in Colorado
Dear Donna: I hope your response is posted on employee bulletin boards: It is never appropriate to comment on a person’s body.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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