I’m afraid my sister will be a coyote at the wedding
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My extended family has a divisive history – people haven’t spoken to each other for years. I’m guilty too, but it’s a multi-generational pattern I’d like to end to support the next generation.
I write as we plan our daughter’s wedding. We are overjoyed, but there is a small blunder in the saddle: one of my sisters has decided not to speak to me or our other sister anymore.
I just learned from a mutual friend that Silent Sister is coming to the wedding, and that’s good. But I don’t want Silent Sister to feel uncomfortable, lurking around the fringes of the event like a coyote in the brush.
I’m thinking of sending an email to everyone in the family, including Silent Sister, asking them to volunteer for nice tasks at the wedding, like decorating the donkey with flowers or feeding the longhorns so they introduce themselves to the photographer.
I’m afraid she’s trying to create more drama rather than seize the moment. Do I let her isolate herself as she chooses, or do I welcome her into the joy of this occasion? I want the focus to be on my daughter.
NICE READER: If donkeys and longhorns are involved, your daughter may give up hope of being the target. It will most certainly be eclipsed.
Miss Manners therefore recommends that you focus, as you have, on including your (perhaps unworthy) sister. Tasking is not likely to accomplish this. If she is determined to make a scene, it will be her doing.
Luckily, unless she chooses to prowl the woods during the wedding, she’s unlikely to outshine the animals.
[Did that sound familiar? It’s because you read it in Ask Amy a few months ago. Here’s what she said.]
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do I tell someone that they can only come to my house if they stop wearing perfume?
Every time we invite our brother-in-law to dinner, he brings his boyfriend, who not only has bad etiquette but also wears the most obnoxious perfume. It caused bad migraines for the rest of us.
I’m about to send another dinner invitation to my brother-in-law, but I really want to point out that he has to tell his boyfriend not to wear perfume – or just not to bring him perfume. all.
I can’t tell her boyfriend directly because he barely speaks English and I don’t have his contact details.
NICE READER: What a blessing. Because “please don’t smell the joint” is no way to greet a guest.
Instead, appeal to your brother-in-law with a version of “I’m afraid I’ve developed an allergy or sensitivity to strong smells — and Francois’ cologne has exacerbated it.” Is there a way for him to avoid wearing it when he comes? We enjoy his company so much otherwise.
Failing that, you could declare that you are taking additional COVID precautions and require masks to be worn in the house – if only, perhaps, for its occupants.
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