Life Advice



Controlling sister-in-law makes a splash at the lake

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Somebody in your sibling group (preferably all of you) should tell her respectfully and plainly that there are parameters all must abide by. Any "improvements" to the property should be voted on and agreed to by the group. The group should vote on a pet policy. If you want new cabinetry or appliances, then cast your vote and agree on the cost.

Here's a script: "Sandy, this is a reminder that the lake property is co-owned by the sibling group. We siblings will discuss and agree to any house rules or capital improvements. You are a valued family member, but you're going to have to accept that you are not a partner to the property."

It might be a good investment for you and your siblings to see a lawyer to make sure you all understand your ownership rights and responsibilities. You four should meet in person annually to discuss this property and review expenses and improvements. Your brother might bring forth ideas generated by his wife. Review them with an attitude of openness, and take a vote.

Dear Amy: I enjoy having friends fly in to visit for a few days, but I'm not sure how to react when they are constantly texting, taking pictures, posting on Facebook and talking on their phones for the majority of the time.

I took a friend to tour wine country and we were unable to have a conversation because she was more interested in taking pictures, tagging and posting than conversing.

I took a friend out to dinner and she talked on the phone to her daughter until food was served, then took pictures of everything and texted and posted the pictures.


Is there a polite way to approach the subject, or should I limit my exposure to these people?

-- Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Years ago, I was visiting with a friend and, while talking to her, I distractedly leafed through a magazine. She said to me, "Wow, I feel like you're not really interested in what I have to say." I made a lame excuse about multi-tasking, but I've never forgotten her statement about how this made her feel.

When we are with people, we should be with them.


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