Life Advice

/

Health & Spirit

Avoiding the in-laws isn't possible when they move across the street

Carolyn Hax on

Possibly even great -- and you can nudge it there by taking overdue steps toward owning who you are.

Meaning: No more excuses.

They never belonged in this relationship anyway. The aw-gee-sorry-stuck-at-work stuff is strictly for occasional use and/or with people you don't see often enough to warrant the effort to explain yourself. (If that; fibbing is hardly ideal.)

By using that approach constantly with your in-laws, you've left them to (a) conclude there's some bigger reason you're not coming, obviously, and (b) fill in the blanks themselves. This invites them to think the worst: "She hates us," "She's cold," or some unholy blend of the two.

The truth is that you do like them and aren't saying no because of who they are; you say no because of who you are. So say that.

"I am an introvert. I love you guys; I just need more alone time than most people. That's why you see me only about one visit out of four."

Deputize your husband to reinforce this message in and about your absence. "You know how she is, social in small doses." Follow-up version: "She says 'hi' and will see you Friday."

 

The ideal time to bring this up was when you first joined the family, but the parents' move opens a small, natural window to speak up now.

Consistency is what makes a message like yours feel true. Be warm, be confident your ways are perfectly normal, and -- on your terms -- be present: Choose a fair visit frequency, then stick to it.

The room for greatness lies in the helpful drop-by. "Here's your mail, need anything else? 'Kay, gotta run." It's for close neighbors only and an introvert's dream. Five friendly minutes and out.

========

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Social Connections

Comics

Mike Lester Marshall Ramsey Clay Bennett Ask Shagg One Big Happy Wumo