Annie's Mailbox: Fed Up Sister
Dear Annie: I have three siblings. I get along great with my sister and oldest brother, but my younger brother drives me bonkers. The only time he ever calls or emails is to brag about how much money he has, how great his kids are, and on and on. Yet, if I ever try to say anything positive about my family, he quickly interrupts and tries to top me.
I am happy that he is so blessed in life, but nobody's life is as perfect as he makes his out to be. My other brother ignores his annoying habit and my sister is always impressed with his shallow, narcissist bragging. My husband and I are comfortable financially, but we don't feel compelled to announce our business to the world. I have started sending his phone calls straight to voicemail.
Am I being petty to not want to hear my brother's constant bragging? He lives in another state and when he comes back to town, he never visits me. I was hoping if I cut off contact, he might get a clue, but I doubt it. -- Fed Up Sister
Dear Sister: This seems to be a rather minor issue over which to sever ties with a sibling. We actually feel sorry for your brother. People who can't stop boasting about themselves tend to be terribly insecure. They need the constant reassurance that they matter. We don't doubt that it's tedious to listen to, but you can ignore a great deal of this with very little effort. Give his emails a token glance and only answer his calls if you feel up to it.
No one is perfect. Siblings can be annoying. We cherish the good parts and forget about the rest. If you cannot find any "good parts," and the bragging is unbearable, then whatever contact you have is up to you.
Dear Annie: You were surprisingly indulgent with "Still Hurting," who was upset that no one inquired about her family in France after the terrorist attacks. This person sounds seriously high maintenance. She probably has resentment issues in other areas of her life. She should focus on the good news that her family is safe, and share this with others in a positive way, not as way to create guilt. She may soon find herself with no friends at all. -- Feeling Judgmental About Your Advice
Dear Feeling: Many readers agree with you, but not all. Read on:
Dear Annie: It was sad to read the letter from "Still Hurting." I'm proud to say that I did not hesitate to call my former girlfriend, "Michele," who was raised in France, to offer my condolences. She was grateful that I called, but to me, it was only natural, almost obligatory, to contact her. Maybe "Hurting" will learn, like I did, who her real friends are. -- Still Hoping
Dear Annie: It is unreasonable to expect our acquaintances to inquire every time an incident occurs near our family. If it was so important for her friends to know that everyone was safe, she should have broadcast the good news. To expect friends to inquire about everything that matters to you is placing too much importance on your own feelings. She obviously doesn't value her friendships if she is so eager to cast them aside for what she considers insensitive behavior. -- Gary
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.