Life Advice



Upcoming holidays create in-law drama

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

It is not always easy to be a sister-in-law, especially when you feel that a special social bond has not been extended to you. But this might be one of those times when you have to realize and accept that you are not a family member with voting rights, but one of many guests. You should not enter this season determined to be hurt.

Dear Amy: Several weeks ago, while under the influence of alcohol, a (former) friend of my husband's posted some insulting and untrue comments about him on the website of a social group to which we all belong.

The site's director spotted the remarks within hours and removed them, so they weren't seen by a lot of people. Now, many weeks later, the individual has sobered up, but has not apologized, and in fact has told a mutual friend that he has no intention of ever apologizing.

We find ourselves in social situations with him about every week or two.

We want nothing to do with him, but at the same time, don't want to make others in our circle uncomfortable. How do we handle this?

-- Unhappy in the Midwest

Dear Unhappy: It would be wisest if your husband could contact this person directly and privately, and simply ask for an apology: "I was relieved when these untrue statements were removed from the site, but I am still concerned that you published them at all. I would really appreciate an apology from you so that we can all move on."


If your husband makes this appeal and doesn't receive an answer (or if the person responds negatively), then your husband should choose to be the bigger person and remain cordial, while keeping an arm's length from the former friend when you are all thrown together. If you are always cordial and polite, then nothing about your behavior would make others uncomfortable. Any public discomfort should be on the person who created the problem.

Dear Amy: "Watching Where I Step" didn't want visitors arriving with extra dogs (they have two). We have four dogs. Our standard invitation says, "No dogs please, there are already too many dogs here!" We also say that with four dogs present, adding additional ones to the mix usually does not go well. People who know we love dogs often assume that means they can bring theirs, and so we take care to pre-empt that impulse.

-- Hazel in Virginia

Dear Hazel: Smart.


(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)



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