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  1. Kids & Family

Tell Me About It: Family's prying questions can be thwarted

I am living in another country trying to sort out what I want in my life, not depending on anyone but myself financially. When I call home, instead of, "How are you?," I get a tirade of questions about what am I doing with my life, etc.

I get they are just looking out for me, but I am 30 and successful in my life. How do I learn to just ignore their comments?

Sorting Out

A: Stop talking to them so much. Specifically, stop responding to interrogations as if they're entitled to all that information: "Oh, gosh, I've got to go. Love you, bye." Say it any and every time they start down the path that wears down your resistance.

They are not "just looking out for" you. If that were the case then they would give you room to exercise your own judgment and build your own strength and confidence.

If you want a more charitable take, then, okay: They think they are looking out for you but apparently lack the emotional health and resources to recognize that they're really just undermining you by treating you as if you're doing something wrong.

For practical purposes, these two takes are the exact same thing, with the exact same remedy. Stop talking to them so much, at least until they get the message that interrogations = end of the call.

Former card sender wants back on the list

Q: I have been lax about sending holiday cards for years, mostly due to not having much news, positive or otherwise, to tell. As a result, it seems I have been dropped from people's yearly correspondence lists.

I want to be in touch again to let them know I'm thinking of them, but I don't want to send a "Debbie Downer" note! I could just send cards and say, "Best wishes," but that's rather impersonal. Any suggestions?

A: The card issue is easier than you're letting it be: "Sorry I've been out of touch! I miss you and think of you often."