Cousin addicted to woman's online profile
Q: Recently I was browsing through an online community and I found the details of a particular post very familiar. I looked through the user's history and quickly realized this was my cousin.
I am now kind of addicted to reading this constantly updated stream of her opinions and personal details. For example, I've learned that she's two months pregnant and has told no one except her parents. I've learned intimate details about her sex life.
It's a huge coincidence that I saw this post and connected her to the username and thus now know a lot of her personal life. I'm not sure how I should proceed.
I don't think she would want me to see all that she's posting, however she's not going out of her way to preserve her anonymity; she has posted selfies using this username. I don't plan on using this information against her, but it still feels wrong to be reading it. Do I owe her privacy?
A: You don't owe her privacy that she freely discards. It does sound as if you owe it to yourself, though, not to spend so much time in this muck.
Better to not push an unwanted friendship
Q: A few months ago an old friend told me she didn't want to be friends anymore. So I backed off.
I found out from a mutual friend that she's now engaged. I feel like I can't let this event go unacknowledged. Would it be wrong of me to send a card of congratulations and a gift?
A: If the dissolution were 10 years ago, I could see sending a happy-for-you card. Since it was recent, though, the risk is too high that a gift will convey disrespect for her wishes; not enough time has passed for you to have proven with your actions that you will honor her request to end the friendship. I'm sorry.