Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Sister-in-law's FaceTiming ruins New Year's Eve

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

When does FaceTime become an intrusion?

My sister-in-law recently relocated to our area. We invited her to join us for our traditionally quiet New Year's Eve celebration. About two hours before midnight, she pulled out her iPad and FaceTimed her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, and proceeded to talk for the next two hours or longer. Essentially three people were invited into our home, disrupted our evening and became a huge distraction.

Both my husband and daughter bemoaned the loss of our peaceful evening. We like the family she called, and I understand a brief phone call, but over two hours?

I'm for confronting her, but my very sensitive husband doesn't want to alienate or upset her. Needless to say, we won't be including her in future New Year's celebrations, but what about other holidays?

-- Angry and Frustrated

--Sponsored Video--

FaceTime becomes an intrusion when the people surrounding the call are too distracted by it to carry on with what they were doing; and I can't see how other holidays will be any different from New Year's.

That answers your questions, but they're the wrong questions.

What I hope you'll ask -- and what I'm answering whether you ask it or not: Is it really more "sensitive" and less likely to "alienate or upset" someone to skip right past talking to her and jump straight to icing her out? With "needless to say" certainty of your righteousness, no less?

Answer: No. It isn't. Silently blackballing someone isn't kind at all, it's cowardly, and "confronting" days later isn't much better. Both hit your sister-in-law after the fact when mid-fact was available to you all along.


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