Life Advice



Eccentric in-law is invited to shut up

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My 77-year-old father-in-law is an eccentric man -- he always has been and probably always will be.

He's a former librarian, so he's always been chatty about odd topics. He has quirky hobbies and can be a bit argumentative when the topic of conversation turns to certain subjects. His wife died over a decade ago. I find him endearing, but my own family does not.

My parents and my older brother absolutely hate to be near him. They find him irritating and occasionally rude. They keep contact with him to the bare minimum but are always polite to him.

My brother is hosting the holidays this year, and to my surprise, extended an invite to my father-in-law to join us. He asked me to invite him, and also told me to ask him to "be seen, and not heard" (in so many words).

He said that he didn't want to get dragged into "philosophical arguments about nothing," and didn't want him being "weird." I didn't know what to say.

I haven't extended the invite to my father-in-law yet. I just don't know how to say, "don't be weird" and "keep your mouth shut." I don't want him spending the holidays alone.


What do you think?

-- Concerned

Dear Concerned: I think your brother is a bit of a jerk -- or at least he is acting like one.

No, I don't think you should ask your father-in-law to keep his mouth shut in order for your family to be able to tolerate him for a few hours.


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