Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Sister feels on the hook for weekend visits

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: One of my sisters and her husband live two hours from me and my husband. There are events in our town that my sister and her husband like to attend.

When they want to attend an event here, they ask if they can spend the weekend at our house. The number of times they want to stay with us keeps increasing to the point where it's about every other weekend, six months out of the year. This trend started a couple of years ago.

If my husband and I are not in the mood for company, we don't know how we'd ever say "no" to their requests to stay with us (we have never yet said "no").

If we said we were planning to be out of town on one of these weekends, they'd say they want to stay in the house, even if we weren't there.

Am I being selfish in not always wanting their company every time they want to come? And if we were going to be gone, how would I tell them that I didn't want them to use our house? They have plenty of money so they could easily afford a hotel -- or they could drive back home.

I'm wondering if I need to just "buck up" and get over it and let them stay here, since it is family.

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Hoping you'll steer me in the right direction!

-- Rudderless

Dear Rudderless: Yes, you do need to "buck up." In this context, however, bucking up means occasionally saying "no" to this intrusion.

Saying no is so easy, as long as you say it when you want to say it, and don't pile on with excuses or explanations. Eager (or pushy) people tend to take elaborate explanations as an invitation to plow right through. They will take their problem and deftly make it your problem. Once you master the art of a firm and friendly "no," you will be liberated in many ways.

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