Can You Post Condolences on Facebook?
Facebook is a fast and easy way to get your thoughts out there, but a certain line of etiquette gets crossed when a sad personal experience becomes a public one. If you must post your condolences on Facebook, make sure to follow Modern Manners Guy's 3 tips for doing it properly.
Page 2 of 2
Tip #2: Leave Out the Details
Tip #1 was for people who comment on the experience of others. Now, I'm going to turn the tables and discuss the etiquette of posting information about the death of a loved one on Facebook.
One Modern Manners Guy Facebook friend emailed me about his family member who posted a detailed description of a loved one's death from an illness that slowly deteriorated the person’s body. As someone who has worked with sick people before, I learned that keeping the delicacies of someone’s final days private is absolutely crucial. But not this over-sharer! They went on and on about the slow progression of a terminal illness with no regard to the deceased.
As usual, I’ll play Devil’s advocate and say, “Okay, they meant well.” That’s fine. It’s good to mean well, but it’s more important to do well! So, if you write a post about someone’s suffering final days and detail every aspect of their decline, the result is that the deceased will not be remembered as the shining person everyone knew.
Even if someone has a horrific ending, now is the time to praise their strength and beauty. If you have to talk about them on social media sites like Facebook, stick to a simple thought about their life and good nature, rather than their tragic ending. Keep those details private.
Tip #3: Celebrate Their Life
It’s not easy to lose someone and, as much as you want to grieve and open your heart, as I said in Tip #2, Facebook is not the place for gruesome details. It's for sharing good will and good memories. I like to think that the deceased would wish that you’d celebrate their life instead of dwelling on their death. So if you must use Facebook as an outlet for grief, make it the place to honor the wonderful life and qualities of your loved one.
Last year, my close friend passed away at a very young age from an illness he battled for many years. When he passed, everyone posted their general condolences for his family, as you would expect. But soon therafter friends started posting great uplifting stories about him. Post after post was filled with details about our friend's life and showed him in a beautiful light. And now his page is forever filled with great tales and fond memories. No one wants to talk about his illness, only his life. And this is the only proper way to memorialize a friend.
Do you have a story about bad Facbeook behavior? Post all the details in the comment section below. As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.