Adapted from a recent online discussion.
She's living her own life, and her family can't stop judging her
Minding My Own Business . . . : I have a family member who is behaving in a way that I and other family members find appalling. For example, she needs a job, but is making demands of potential employers that we find surprising in the current economic environment. She gets an otherwise perfect job offer, but finds the 45-minute commute too far, so she is demanding to work from home.
But that's mild compared to how she has been treating people she cares about. She is getting married soon. Her future mother-in-law had been saving a family heirloom engagement ring for years for her son to give his future wife. This family member refused the ring because she doesn't want an engagement ring.
Her mother loves weddings more than anyone I know and has been looking forward to her engagement for years. This person recently bought her wedding dress without including her mother at all because it was on sale, totally missing that saving a couple hundred dollars deprives her mother of a priceless opportunity, and really hurting her mother's feelings.
I'm of the mind that adults don't need unsolicited advice. It's getting more and more difficult, though, to make noncommittal statements like "Isn't that interesting." I just want you to tell me that we who are doing our best to say nothing are doing the right thing.
Carolyn: So she's supposed to take on a long commute, a ring she doesn't want and extra expenses for a dress (um, when she doesn't have a job), because you all think she should?
You'd be doing the right thing if you stopped judging her and wishing you could run her life for her. But, short of that, I suppose biting your tongue is a start. Not nattering about her every move with "other family members" would be an excellent second step.
Va.: Re: Business: What??? I'm sorry Carolyn — I don't agree. Someone needs to tell the woman to stop being a self-centered, ungrateful twit. No, you shouldn't have to live your life to please other people all the time — but would it kill her to accept the ring as a token of history, share the dress-choosing memories with her mom (mothers aren't permanent), and be grateful she has a potential job in this economy? It just seems ungrateful when you can't do simple things for others when it clearly means so much to them.
Carolyn: How is she self-centered? She is who she is. Would you have her accept the ring and not wear it? Wear it and hate it? Shouldn't another relative who does cherish it have an opportunity to own it instead?
And why does the mother's love of weddings have to be satisfied by dress-shopping, and ONLY dress-shopping? Surely there are other things they can share?
As for the job, unless she's mooching off her critics, then she can accept or refuse whatever job offer she wants. It's her life, her 1.5 hours per day she'd be burning on the road.
I see someone maintaining integrity under significant pressure to act like someone else. But even if I got the wrong impression and she is a twit, these are her decisions and the writer has no direct standing to judge.