DEAR ABBY: Is there any way to end the “holiday newsletter”?
Every Christmas, I get one from a particular family member, which invariably includes a list of their glowing accomplishments, expensive trips, etc., accompanied by lots of photos. Nobody else in our family sends these kinds of letters, and I don’t know how they feel about receiving it. Last December, I couldn’t even read it because it made me so depressed.
My siblings and I are all in our 60s and 70s and spread out across the U.S. We have diverse lifestyles, incomes, etc. Most of us can’t afford the kind of vacations this sibling writes about. Many of us also have personal, painful things going on in our lives, which we don’t really want to discuss.
Is it better to just not read the newsletter? I don’t believe this sibling means to be insensitive, and I don’t think I could ever bring the subject up for discussion. I just know I’m already dreading December’s letter.
Please let everyone out there know: no more holiday newsletters. Thank you.
— UNWANTED RECAP IN THE WEST
DEAR UNWANTED: Many folks send holiday newsletters because they are an easy way to stay in touch with friends and relatives they don’t see or communicate with often. The letters are often polished up — even embellished — because everyone wants to present their best image.
Because these communications are often welcomed, I’m hesitant to advise readers not to send them. However, because you find them depressing, either shred them unopened or delete them if they arrive electronically.
DEAR ABBY: A month ago, when I invited a co-worker to a concert happening next month, he was so excited about going. But we had a big disagreement at work, and, since then, we haven’t found a way to get along.
At this point, it might be more awkward than fun to go to a concert together, but I feel stuck.
If I take back my invitation, he can hold that against me. If I don’t take it back, it could be an incredibly awkward night.
Am I missing an option? What should I do?
— AWKWARD IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR AWKWARD: If you disinvite your co-worker it will create more bad feelings at work. If you follow through, the concert may provide an opportunity for the two of you to resolve your differences. I think it’s worth a try.
DEAR ABBY: My dad always wants to know what I’m doing and expects me to help him all the time.
I invite him to events I’m having. I help him often because I’m his translator, since his English isn’t very good. We moved here almost 30 years ago.
My dad does not do the same for me. I am never invited anywhere and he never wants to tell me things. It’s like pulling teeth to get an “I love you” out of him.
How do I approach him about this without upsetting him? He’s a very sensitive person.
— ONE INVITE IN THE WEST
DEAR ONE INVITE: It seems your father is not only “sensitive,” but also secretive and entitled.
Most relationships are reciprocal; his relationship with you is not. This could be because of the culture in which he grew up.
Because this bothers you, you need to tell your father how you feel about it. Nothing will be resolved unless you do.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.