Miss Conduct

Advice: I made Kaepernick my Facebook profile pic, and got trolled

When I posted the quarterback’s photo, I got nasty comments. Do I block these friends?

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands in the bench area during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the New York Jets in Santa Clara, Calif. Kaepernick told CBS he’ll stand during the national anthem if given chance to play football in NFL again. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shown in December.

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I changed my Facebook profile picture to a picture of Colin Kaepernick, and two of my Facebook “friends” left unsolicited negative comments. When did I ask for feedback or soapbox speeches on MY profile pic?! I was taken aback and disappointed. Should I stay quiet and ignore it? Unfriend them? Block them? Critique their profile picture in return?

Anonymous / Boston

Have you been wanting to get rid of these scare-quoted-friends anyway? This would be a good time and excuse to do so. Insulting people’s profile picture is like telling them they dress funny. Nobody welcomes that!

If you do want to keep Statler and/or Waldorf in your feed, delete their comments. Then add a brief comment of your own to the picture, explaining that you are not interested in unsolicited opinions about your choice.


You’re the host of your own page and, like any host, have the right to set house rules. Delete out-of-bounds comments and edit posts to reiterate those rules, which can be as idiosyncratic as you like. No politics, no swearing, no spoilers, no pictures of clowns — you set the limits.

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I’ve used the delete-and-review-house-rules technique several times. Bullies, jerks, and those bewitched by their own righteousness will either unfriend you or argue with you, at which point you unfriend them. Offenders who are well meaning but excitable may not apologize for crossing the line, but they will behave themselves in the future. And everyone else learns the rules.

Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.


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