Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Sister may be choosing wrong time to bond

Q: Please help me. My older sister and family go to the beach yearly for a week and stay together in a condo. In recent years, I have rented nearby at the same time to see my family.

I must say, they don't seem to care if we are there. We don't eat together, and other than seeing each other on the beach, there is very little interaction. My ex always noticed they didn't care; my current husband says the same thing.

Enter politics. Now, since we are of the opposite parties, it is more complicated. I do not discuss politics but they are flagrant in their beliefs.

So this year, I do not want to be there. My other sister won't even try to go; she thinks they're rude.

A few months ago, my sister said, "You coming to the beach?" I said yes. Nothing else was said.

Eventually it will come up again in one of our infrequent phone calls. Not that she cares if we are there, but what do I say?

S.

A: You tell her there's been a change of plan and you won't be there after all.

The issue here isn't that this situation is complicated; it's that, for whatever reason, you won't let it be simple.

Your sister doesn't welcome you when you come to the beach, and the simplest conclusion to draw from that is that you're not welcome there. Political differences are a red herring.

Your choosing to plant yourself alongside her on the same week as her annual trip could even be hurting your chances to get closer to your sister. If I'm right, then you're forcing her either to include you when she'd rather focus her attention on her family; to avoid you without being overtly rude; or to explain to you outright that she loves you and enjoys your company, but this beach trip is her time to focus on her spouse/kids/grandkids.

It's your duty not to force her to explain herself. Again, let it be simple: This isn't your beach week, it's hers. Read the situation. Pick another way to bond.

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