Q: As an introvert, I really need downtime outside of socializing or I feel tired (and crazy). When we visit my retired in-laws, we spend the entire weekend in the same room with them, except to sleep. Breakfast together, then move to the living room, then to lunch, then back to the living room. I find this overwhelming and exhausting, even though I genuinely do like my in-laws.
When I suggest doing something on my own — a grocery run, hopping on the bus to get coffee — my suggestion that I would spend an hour outside the family bubble is met with shock, and I think they are hurt.
We visit for at least one long weekend a month, which is above my gritting-teeth threshold. Help?
A: Where is your spouse in this? That's the person who needs to advocate for you: "It's not you, Mom and Dad — she just needs alone time, even when it's only the two of us." Said while you're out getting coffee and retaining your marbles.
Even without his support, just do your grocery-store run and let the huffy chips fall where they may. Bring back a latte for your in-laws as an offering, or their favorite food.
Talk to your husband about this, too, please, even if you plan just to do what you need regardless.
Grandma put pressure on college freshman
Q: I am a freshman in college. The problem is my paternal grandmother. She lives several hours away but she is always pestering me about when she will see me next. How do I handle this?
A: Decide on a contact-Grammy schedule that you won't mind keeping — Wednesdays and Sundays? — program it into your phone and stick to it, even with just a quick update or a photo. Staying close on your terms beats pushing back against hers.