Sis­ters’ life­long ri­valry es­ca­lates into si­lence

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PROFILES - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips,and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069 or visit

DEAR ABBY: Our daugh­ters aren’t speak­ing. One says she re­ally doesn’t “like” the other. Th­ese are ma­ture women who have had their dif­fer­ences through­out their lives. But they have tol­er­ated each other, one more than the other.

The older one claims her sis­ter posted not-son­ice things about her. The younger one threat­ens not to at­tend any gath­er­ings if her sis­ter is there. This needs to be re­solved be­fore years go by and our fam­ily is torn apart.

They stopped speak­ing a month ago — on their dad’s birth­day yet. It was one of the worst days of our lives. We’re in our 80s, and I may never again see them to­gether. The older one says she’s will­ing to go to coun­sel­ing, but the younger re­fuses.

We’re des­per­ate for a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. They don’t have to be best friends, just be civil and tol­er­ate a hol­i­day to­gether for our sake. Please ad­vise.

— Help­less and sad in


DEAR HELP­LESS AND SAD: Un­less both of your daugh­ters are will­ing to ac­cept coun­sel­ing or me­di­a­tion, they will not rec­on­cile. For your younger daugh­ter to re­sort to emo­tional black­mail (“if she’s there, I won’t be”) is de­spi­ca­ble. Please do not give in to it. Tell her that if she de­cides to change her mind, she’s al­ways wel­come, and then pro­ceed with­out her. You may be des­per­ate for a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, but un­til your daugh­ters are, it won’t hap­pen and you will have to ac­cept it.

DEAR ABBY: Re­cently I was lis­ten­ing to a cou­ple talk­ing about who and who not to in­vite to a wed­ding be­cause seat­ing was lim­ited.

I’m won­der­ing whether there would be any­thing wrong with send­ing out a let­ter stat­ing that although they would like to in­vite ev­ery­one, seat­ing is lim­ited. Ex­plain that, of course, im­me­di­ate fam­ily (par­ents, sib­lings and their spouses) would be in­vited with­out ex­cep­tion. How­ever, the re­main­ing seat­ing would be on a “lot­tery” ba­sis. If peo­ple ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion, they would be in the lot­tery and then no­ti­fied of the re­sults.

Is this ac­cept­able? I think it would solve a lot of prob­lems. Just won­der­ing.

— Just a thought in


DEAR JUST A THOUGHT: If I were you, I would for­get this con­cept. De­pend­ing upon the size of the guest list, I strongly sus­pect it would of­fend any­one who didn’t “win” the lot­tery.

DEAR ABBY: I some­times have so­cial anx­i­ety. I would like to go out with friends and ac­quain­tances, but I worry I won’t have enough to talk about or won’t know what to say, and it makes me ner­vous. Do you have any ad­vice?

— Loner in Illi­nois DEAR LONER: Al­most ev­ery­one has so­cial anx­i­ety to some ex­tent. If your only worry is that you won’t have enough to talk about, don’t let it stop you. Most peo­ple like to talk about them­selves and will ap­pre­ci­ate a good lis­tener.

If you would like to bring up top­ics, lis­ten to the news or read your news­pa­per and jot down a few top­ics. If your level of anx­i­ety is so high that you can­not in­ter­act with oth­ers, then it’s time to dis­cuss it with your physi­cian and ask for a re­fer­ral to some­one who can give you med­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal help.

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