How to Handle Awkward Holiday Social Media Moments

PHOTO: Check out some of the best tech stocking stuffers for 2014.Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images
Check out some of the best tech stocking stuffers for 2014.

Celebrating the holidays with family, friends and co-workers can be fun until a social media snafu threatens to ruin the holiday merriment.

Whether it's a co-worker who posts a photo of you five eggnogs deep at the office holiday party or the creepy cousin who asks why you won't be his Facebook friend, social media can cause plenty of awkward moments.

Luckily, Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, said there's a classy way to handle even the most uncomfortable social media moments.

Situation: You're Confronted About Unfriending or Ignoring a Request

The bottom line here: Own it.

If the aunt you unfriended asks why, let her know that you had to make a choice to limit your communication.

"Tell her, 'I really had to make an uncomfortable decision but I love chatting with you on the phone,'" Gottsman said.

For the relative who is left in follow or friend request purgatory (that's not approving or denying their request), Gottsman said it's OK to tell them not to take it personally.

"Just say it’s for co-workers and very close friends and I’m just not friending everyone," she said.

Situation: Leaving Someone Off a Facebook Party Guest List

"If you have forgotten someone accidentally and it's very close to the time frame, just give them a call and say, 'I realize I left you off the list. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings. I’d really love for you to come."

If you see a party invite on Facebook but you're the one being left out, tough luck.

"It’s not appropriate to say, 'Hey, what about me?'" Gottsman said. "We all have to make decisions to limit our guest lists for multiple good reasons. It's not a reflection on how we feel about that person."

Situation: Someone Posts a Photo of You That You Don't Like

Sure, you can untag that photo of yourself on the dance floor at the office holiday party, but it's still visible for other people to see.

"The protocol for this is you should not post pictures of anyone without their permission," Gottsman said. "You don’t post ugly. We have to post courteously."

Send the friend who posted the photo a polite message, letting them know you would appreciate it if they would please take the photo down from social media.

Situation: A Client Friends You on Your Personal Account

This may be a person you see from time to time, but that doesn't mean you have to let them into your personal account.

"The answer to that is you just message them and say, 'I keep this page for occasional posts to my family but I am on my business page daily and I will see you there most often. I look forward to chatting with you,'" Gottsman said.

Pro Tip: Put the Drink Down

Remember: You're still managing your personal brand and often times corporate and social can overlap.

It may act as a security blanket, but Gottsman advises people to put their drink down in photos.

"Once you start seeing the same photo of yourself at different events it starts to send a message," she said.