Dear Abby: Couple cuts back on technology, angers friends and family

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to live a simpler, slower-paced life. We decided to get rid of our TV, tablets and social media accounts and trade our smartphones in for flip phones, among other changes. Since then we have been focusing more on our marriage and our four kids. We have picked up new hobbies and have been learning better communication skills. The result: We find ourselves happier and less stressed overall.

The problem is we have encountered a lot of hostility from friends and family. We have been told we are crazy, backward and anti-technology, and have even been accused of abusing our kids because they spend most of their time outdoors and don’t watch TV.

I really don’t understand why people are angry. Maybe they feel we are judging them (we aren’t), or maybe they just don’t like when others choose a different path. With all the complaints about how millennials (my husband and I) are addicted to screens, I would think they would regard our decision as a positive one.

Even after two years, people are upset about it, and we still get rude, snarky comments. I don’t care if they disagree with us, but I do care that they feel entitled to be rude and disrespectful. How do we deal with people’s big emotions over such a small matter? — UNPLUGGED IN OHIO

DEAR UNPLUGGED: Social media can be a blessing, and for many individuals it has become the primary way of maintaining contact with others. Your friends and family may be bothered because they have to make more effort in order to have a relationship with you.

Because you have chosen the direction in which you want to go, your best “defense” would be to keep your sense of humor and ignore the snark whenever possible. I’m pleased that you are happier now, and I have a hunch more families may follow your example in the future.

DEAR ABBY: This is in reply to “Hung Up on the Ring in Reno” (Nov. 11), whose girlfriend insists on a very expensive ring as part of the marriage proposal. He believes she equates her value and social status with the size of the stone.

I was married in the early 1970s. When my fiance and I went to a jeweler to select my ring, I sorted through several trays of gold rings, searching for just the right one. Finally, in the last tray, I found exactly what I wanted — a little gold band trimmed with an etched design around the edges. I held my breath as the jeweler quoted the price: $13!

That sweet little gold band has been on the third finger of my left hand for 45 years. It has nothing to do with my value and social status, but rather, represents 4 1/2 decades of love, mutual respect and sharing. I wouldn’t trade it for the Hope Diamond, and I intend to wear it until my final day on Earth.

Incidentally, my husband saw the jeweler later at a social gathering shortly before our wedding, and the man complimented him on the “nice, sensible” young lady he was going to marry. — NANCY IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

DEAR NANCY: It appears your husband and the jeweler had something important in common: an eye for quality.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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