By Rosalind Wiseman
Q. My best friend, Beth, signed her daughter up on Facebook and had her send me a friend request. I denied it because I feel an 11-year-old shouldn't be using the site. Beth and I ended up in a heated argument. What's your take on the situation?
A. I want you to think beyond "Eleven is too young," even though I agree with you. Here's the thing. The girl is already signed up. And she has invited you, an adult, to see what's going on in her life. That reflects well on you, so you might want to reconsider. If you do change your mind, just be sure to customize your privacy settings so she can see only limited information. I'm not assuming you're posting pictures of the crazy party you went to last weekend, but you never know.
You also need to get to a better place with Beth. If you were harsh with her, I would apologize and explain your motivations. (Try not to sound like you're reprimanding her, and bear in mind that she may be feeling defensive about her parenting and protective of her child.) Finish up the conversation by being clear that you want a relationship with this child, she can e-mail you anytime, and you'd love to hang out in real life.