Tag Archives: Facebook

Social Graces: Make the Effort: Send the Birthday Card, Bake the Banana Bread and Visit

My friend L. just moved from Boston to Albany and gave birth to twins.  It’s been almost four months since they were born, and I pictured myself cooking for L. and helping with the babies the first month of their life.  With older kids in school, a toddler, work and everything else, I kept putting off the visit.  I finally realized there would be no perfect time to visit, but I found a nearly perfect time.  My husband was home for the week, L.’s husband was away.   I spent two nights getting to know her gorgeous twins and enjoying her bubbly 4 year-old daughter.  Sure, I helped: I unloaded the dishwasher.  I made pizza one night.  I held babies.  But most of all, I kept L. company and we caught up on our friendship.

The last night of the visit, we stayed up late talking and she told me how happy she was that I made the effort to come visit.  I told her I’d forgotten how much a new mom needs help, even though I should know. 

One of our new neighbors has a rebout with cancer.  I don’t know her and planning the logistics of cooking a meal for their family seems intrusive.  But who doesn’t like muffins?  I could drop off some muffins.

L. & I also talked about the social graces we’ve had fall by the wayside lately.  I have been terrible about calling or sending cards for nieces and nephews, but ironically being diligent about posting a Happy Birthday message on Facebook for people I worked with 10+ years ago and didn’t really know that well. 

Work friends from 10 years ago may warrant a Facebook Happy Birthday posting.  Good friends and family deserve a call or a card.   A mom having her third or fourth baby doesn’t need a baby shower, but she does deserve a visit to admire the baby or a pretty, thoughtful (how about letterpress?) card to welcome the new addition.  Attending a wake is hard to do, but standing in line to offer condolences in person is something I never regret taking the time to do.

Genuine, thoughtful and kind social graces matter.  

ImageAre there any thoughtful ways you reach out?

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Announcing a New Baby in the Age of Facebook and Twitter

When my daughter was born in 2003, my husband and I made the calls to our friends and family from our hospital room.  Each call reminded me a bit of the movies and TV shows when the dad walks out of the delivery room into a crowd of people anxiously awaiting the good news and says, “It’s a girl!” and the group erupts with joy.

In reality, new parents are tired after labor and nurses are in and out of the hospital room.  It’s hard to make calls or even texts or emails to everyone.  In 2003, I created a phone chain:  my boss so they could tell my co-workers, my best college friend to share the news with our sorority sisters, etc.  Even if you are far removed from the hospital room, it is so fun to be the messenger when it comes to new baby news.

For my brand new baby, born in late October, I was presented with a dilemma- do I announce the baby’s birth via Facebook or Twitter right away?  I decided I wanted the joy of talking to my closest friends via phone.  I wanted my aunts and cousins to find out if we had a boy or a girl from my mom, not from a photo uploaded to Facebook.

The baby was born at 1pm.  We made our calls and sent emails to our groups of friends and co-workers, little by little.  At the end of the day, we uploaded a picture of the baby to Facebook.  I was happy we did it this way, but was upset that I forgot to contact a few friends via email.  Even a mass email would have been more personal than finding out via the status update to my 500 Facebook friends.  I get the practicality of Facebook for announcing this type of news, but feel like digital technology adds some outside pressure to an intimate experience.  That’s why, as a Twitter and Facebook fanatic, I started to wean myself off status updates as I was given a C-section date.

Announcement similiar to mine from http://www.designersfinepress.com

Decidedly not practical at all, a few weeks after the birth, I sent out print birth announcements to our friends and family.  Only about 5 percent of my mailing list didn’t know about the baby, but I still hope everyone enjoyed my carefully selected letterpress announcement to formally mark such a special occasion.   As much as Facebook is fun for connecting with our network of relationships, there’s still something to be said for old-fashioned social protocol.

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