Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Sister-in-law’s a real Miss Bossypants

 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My husband’s oldest sister is on the bossy side and typically arranges family gatherings.

My husband and I purchased a new house and offered to host a holiday gathering so everybody could see our place. Since then, his sister has made our lives very difficult. She comes over to our house suggesting total overhauls of rooms and gave me a menu. My husband tried being blunt with her: “We are hosting this holiday and are happy to see you then. But until then, let us do it our way.”

Evidently her husband and my in-laws let her get her way because it is easier. I don’t want to do that or fight with her about every side dish for the rest of my life. How do I balance this?

Pushed

At this point, it appears as if you and your husband both need to accept that stopping her bossiness isn’t a realistic goal. A goal that is realistic is to host this gathering the way you want to, no matter what Bossy says.

You can achieve that by pushing back whenever she pushes, but that sounds exhausting and needlessly high-conflict.

Instead, you can also just decline to engage her and hold your course. For example, she suggests room overhauls and you say, “Hm, interesting,” and arrange things as you wish. She suggests side dishes and you say, “Thanks, but please don’t bring food. We’re cooking.” If she says five things in an email, you can deal with one in your response and just not mention the rest.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  • Jodie Foster weds artist Alexandra Hedison

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jodie Foster is a married woman.

  •  
Khuly

    Pets

    Pets column: Dog feels pain; she just shows it in a different way

    Q: Our 6-month-old Lab puppy, Bella, was spayed last week. Afterwards, she acted like nothing was wrong. I expected her to be a little sluggish, but she was super-active! I had a similar surgery last year and couldn’t walk for a week. Do pets feel pain the way we do?

  •  
Mama Sass

    Mama Sass

    Mama Sass: Teaching my daughter to drive

    When I first got my learner’s permit, my mother took me to our high school parking lot and let me putter around in her pea-green Ford Pinto wagon. On one empty stretch, a giant object that looked like a brown paper bag sat in the middle of the road.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category