Sister is very loved, but the harassment is becoming too much
DEAR ANNIE: I have four siblings. One of my sisters thinks she has a right to invite herself to our homes, join us for dinner and attend other functions, whether we invite her or not. It’s like she thinks we are joined at the hip.
For example, “Ginny” will call and ask, “Where are we going for dinner tonight?” I am tempted to reply, “I don’t know where you’re going, but I have my own plans.” However, Ginny is overly sensitive and none of us wants to hurt her feelings.
Worse, Ginny is very nosy. She will come to my house ( uninvited, of course) and read my mail. She also asks questions about things that are none of her business. But, Annie, Ginny has many good qualities. She has a big heart and a generous spirit and is always willing to help. I have considered buying her an etiquette book that should cover such things, but my other siblings don’t think this is a good idea. We all love her dearly, but her poor manners are driving us crazy. Any suggestions?
— No Name, Please
Dear No Name: Ginny may not understand that she is ignoring boundaries and behaving inappropriately, a sign that she may be on the autism spectrum. Or, she may simply be lonely and clingy, and her siblings are her entire social life.
You would be doing Ginny a favor by gently explaining these things. Say that you love her to pieces, but occasionally, you have plans that don’t include family members. When she asks an inappropriate question, you are not obligated to respond. Put your mail where she cannot get to it. Suggest that she look into organizations and activities that will interest her and provide a wider circle of friends and a more active social life. She sounds like she needs guidance. Please help her out.