Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I have no idea why this annoys me this much, but my sister is a control freak. Recent example is that her husband and daughter will be visiting for a single overnight, but of course they can’t call and make arrangements themselves. So she calls with a demand that we throw a party for my father the night they’re here.
Squeaky Wheel Sister
What I don’t understand is why you still cater to it, literally and figuratively.
If all they eat is X, Y and Z, then, fine, serve X, Y or Z – as long as it doesn’t involve driving all over town to buy quinoa, kumquats and agave nectar. That’s just practical, plus serving them W just to make a statement is glassbowlery.
As for the party, you just say no. “Dad doesn’t want it and I’m not planning it. But I’m looking forward to seeing Husband and Kids” … without you there to micromanage them, which you don’t actually say, but I’m certainly thinking it. Might be interesting, no?
Anyway, you’re no doubt as annoyed with yourself, for kowtowing, as you are with her. Stop indulging her demands, her nagging, her harsh reviews. Just, “Noted, thanks,” then buh-bye/click/delete.
Squeaky Wheel again
Yes, or two or three, buffet-style. Abstainers are welcome to a bowl of cereal.
If the picky eaters in question are all picky for different things, then opt for the restaurant, since getting berated for what you serve guests isn’t exactly “homey” either, unless your idea of home is subterranean and very very hot. High-maintenance people will squawk about the restaurant, too, but at least you’re not the one in the kitchen.
Either way: Decide what accommodations are reasonable to you, provide only those, then shrug off any flak. She can give orders, but she can’t make you take them.