Tension between reader and family
Dear Annie: There is tension between some of my relatives and me, and I would appreciate your advice.
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that certain relatives stopped answering my text messages and declined any of my invitations to get together.
I am clueless as to why. I have always been there for them: dance recitals, proms, graduations and special birthdays. I have even helped them out financially several times.
In an effort to keep the family close, I organized a cocktail hour to spend with these close relatives, yet not a single person sent an RSVP to my event. Instead, a couple of people I invited decided to indirectly apologize for failing to RSVP by texting my mother that they would not be attending, well after the RSVP date. It was clearly an afterthought on their part, but what’s even more bothersome to me is the fact that they felt it was appropriate to message my mother instead of just contacting me directly.
I have since distanced myself from them, including disengaging from their social media, because I don’t believe in chasing anyone who clearly does not have time for me.
What’s truly irritating is that now their ignorance is being turned on me. They’ll ask my parents or my brother if I’m OK and why I don’t associate with them. Um, am I missing something? I thought communication was a two-way street. Everyone has their own schedules, but it doesn’t take long to answer a simple text message. If someone doesn’t have the time for me in any capacity, it baffles me that they are surprised when I stop reaching out.
I have an upcoming family event, and these relatives will be in attendance. I don’t want to snub them because that’s just not the type of person I am, yet at the same time, I really don’t care to engage with them.
What do you think would be the best way to handle seeing them? — Tired of Being the Bigger Person
Dear Tired: By snubbing your family or not attending a family event, you would be snubbing yourself of family bonding. You are understandably upset and hurt because of their inconsiderate behavior toward your generous offer to host a cocktail event. If you cut them out completely, it doesn’t do anyone any good.
Instead of looking at it like you are the “bigger” person and they are the “less than” person, look at it as a misunderstanding that you want to get to the bottom of. You never know what people have going on in their lives behind closed doors. Try and forgive them for their noncommunication and make sure to communicate to them how you feel.
Once they know that you would like to be notified instead of your mother and that you were hurt when they didn’t respond, my guess is they won’t do that again. Always remember that other people, even family members, are not mind readers, and it’s important to communicate with them. Now if they continue to snub you, then you are better off without them.
— “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.