Hol­i­days cre­ate in-law drama

Star Tribune - - ADVICE & GAMES - Send Ask Amy ques­tions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amy­dick­in­son. com. Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

I am hav­ing in­law trou­bles. About five years ago I asked my sis­ters-in-law if we could move the an­nual Christ­mas fam­ily gath­er­ing from a Sun­day to a Satur­day so that one of my kids could at­tend. He lives quite a dis­tance away and would have to miss work on the Mon­day af­ter if he at­tended the party. The oth­ers live lo­cally.

The re­sponse was: “No, this is the day we al­ways do it.” Each suc­ces­sive year, I made this re­quest when the ad­vance e-mail came out, and I was re­peat­edly re­fused. This year I did not even get an e-mail, but I was in­formed ear­lier than nor­mal of the event by my niece.

I am de­pressed and de­mor­al­ized by the ex­clu­sion of my child and by be­ing ex­cluded from the con­ver­sa­tion. I have asked my part­ner to ap­proach his sib­lings, but I am not sure what will change. Do you have any sug­ges­tions?

Dear Amy:

I sym­pa­thize with you — re­ally I do, be­cause no­body likes a sis­terin-law ex­clu­sion story bet­ter than yours truly.

But you are not host­ing this party. Some­one else is. You made your re­quest to change the day for the sake of one per­son’s work and travel sched­ule and were told no. Ask­ing the same ques­tion ev­ery year and al­ways get­ting the same an­swer is the very def­i­ni­tion of so­cial mad­ness, and it is start­ing to re­flect poorly on you.

Hol­i­day par­ties in­volv­ing groups of peo­ple do tend to be­come set in stone. It is re­ally not for you to say what change might be easy for oth­ers. Oth­ers in your in­law fam­ily group might have in-laws them­selves who are vy­ing for hol­i­day at­ten­tion. So chang­ing a hol­i­day party by one day might throw off scores of other peo­ple.

It is a shame that your son can’t ever at­tend this party. You and your husband might make some head­way by of­fer­ing to host it one year, and

Amy says:

giv­ing Satur­day a try.

It is not al­ways easy to be a sis­ter-in-law, es­pe­cially when you feel that a special so­cial bond has not been ex­tended to you. But you may have to ac­cept you are not a fam­ily mem­ber with vot­ing rights, but one of many guests. You should not en­ter this sea­son de­ter­mined to be hurt.

Deal­ing with ex-pal Dear Amy:

Sev­eral weeks ago, while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol, a (for­mer) friend of my husband’s posted some in­sult­ing and un­true com­ments about him on the web­site of a so­cial group to which we all be­long.

The site’s di­rec­tor spot­ted the remarks within hours and re­moved them. Many weeks later, the in­di­vid­ual has sobered up but has not apol­o­gized and, in fact, has told a mu­tual friend that he has no in­ten­tion of ever apol­o­giz­ing.

We find our­selves in so­cial sit­u­a­tions with him about ev­ery week or two. We want noth­ing to do with him, but don’t want to make oth­ers un­com­fort­able. How do we han­dle this?

It would be wis­est if your husband could con­tact this per­son di­rectly and pri­vately, and sim­ply ask for an apol­ogy: “I was re­lieved when these un­true state­ments were re­moved from the site, but I am still con­cerned that you pub­lished them at all. I would re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate an apol­ogy from you so that we can all move on.”

If your husband makes this ap­peal and doesn’t re­ceive an an­swer (or if the per­son re­sponds neg­a­tively), then your husband should choose to be the big­ger per­son and re­main cor­dial, while keep­ing an arm’s length from the for­mer friend when you are all thrown to­gether.

7. Voice used by male singers to ex­tend their nor­mal range up­ward.

8. The high­est male voice, gen­er­ally in the falsetto regis­ter.

9. The last singer of this voice, Alessan­dro Moreschi, died in 1922.

Amy says:

An. so wt er rs s:a

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