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If you’re judicious and fortunate, your social media feeds should form a life-enhancing parade of wit, insight and genuine human connection. It’s just not like that, though, is it? Few of us can entirely avoid these ten tiresome, energy-sapping types. Here’s how to cope with them.

The Passive-Aggressive

Forever posting dramatic, oblique statements accusing someone who will remain nameless of something so terrible it cannot be spoken of. Creates the impression that they’re talking about murder or arson when what they really mean is somebody forgot to empty the dishwasher.

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How to keep them at bay: Almost any response to the passive-aggressive validates their artificial sense of indignation. Either out-pass-agg them with an even more mystifying statement of your own (“YEAH and after they did that other thing with the trombone and the jellyfish??”) or just bung a #ukhon? hashtag at them and beat it.


The Over-Sharer

They need you to know exactly what they’ve been doing, thinking, leaking and having carnal knowledge of, if that’s OK with you – and even if it isn’t.

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How to keep them at bay: Share your own over-share about the time you contracted Perlman’s Fibromatosis and your face turned into a large soft fungus. Breeze straight past the shocking info, ask the poster how they are and when they’re free for that coffee. Or just tag their mum, employer or case worker in the post “FYI”.


The Perfect Lifer

They’re having just the best time! And they want you to know how blessed they feel! So you can celebrate with them, on an hourly basis!

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How to keep them at bay: Post a link to a charity crisis appeal for emphysemic dolphins in the comments. Then go round and set fire to their shed.


The Banality Machine

No minutiae is too minute for these folks to relate – they will litter your feed with the details of their daily doings like someone clipping their fingernails on the bus. There is no firmer proof that Hell Is Other People(‘s Timelines).

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How to keep them at bay: These harmless prattlers are just the happy little pixies in a land of goblins and trolls so try not to be too hard on them. If you can’t stand it any more a series of direct messages – “Are your respiratory and peristaltic systems still working? Have you been for a poo today? #JustChecking” – might do the trick.


The Conspiraloon

The bane of social media, he – and it’s ALWAYS a he – has a burning need to rip your blinkers off regarding the staging of the moon landings, mind-control drugs in soft drinks, subliminal messages in ‘The Archers’ etc etc.

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How to keep them at bay: Ain’t no reasoning with the conspiraloon. As they say about wrestling with pigs, you’ll get dirty and the pig will enjoy it. Instead just comment that “You do know that FACEBOOK has the letters FBI and CIA in it?” and log off before he realises that actually it doesn’t.


The Provocateur

Because what is social media for if not picking fights with people you don’t know about things they don’t care about?


How to keep them at bay: Be excruciatingly reasonable and even-handed. Finish every point with “But of course, I could be wrong” or “Hey, we’re all struggling to make sense of things, aren’t we.” Or just post a picture of a flower.


The Pious Atheist/Activist/Abstainer

Look, they’re just superior beings, and they need you to take a long hard look at yourself and acknowledge your feeble human failings – one day, you’ll thank them for it.

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How to keep them at bay: You can’t win with this one. Agree and they’ll be inviting you to meetings. Demur and you’ll drown in condescension. Keep an all-purpose JPG of Jesus with a pint and a burger saying “I forgive you, buddy!” just for this purpose. It works on pretty much everybody.


The Tag Hag

The over-enthusiastic muddy puppies of social media, they will use your name until they wear it out alerting you to some bafflingly irrelevant picture or link.

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How to keep them at bay: Boring answer: In Facebook settings, make sure no pictures can be tagged with your name without your permission. Interesting answer: Revenge-tag them with baffling and Kafkaesque images – smoking craters, disturbed-looking actresses in Weimar Germany, hideous insects – and if questioned say “I thought you of all people would get it.”


The Incredibly Funny Guy

Can’t find it in yourself to lighten up and have a good old hollow chuckle at absolutely everything always? This guy is here to help!

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How to keep them at bay: Be one of the other worst people on social media – the Quip Deflater. Employ deadpan rebuttal: “It was in fact Robin Williams the actor and comedian who tragically died. Here is a news article.” Explain a joke, destroy a joke.


The Hashtaghorea Sufferer

Their philosophy: If it’s a #word, #tag it. This may actually be an as-yet #undiagnosed #medical #condition #good #grief #somebody #help.

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How to keep them at bay: Social media users with the hashtag equivalent of Tourette’s cannot be stopped. Just let the little dancing computer-waffles wash over you, until they finally become obsolete. It’ll happen. Just understand that what comes #afterwards will be #worse.

Sarah Bee