My Brother-In-Law Has Never Spoken to Me Without Me Speaking to Him First | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your support!

Give Now

My Brother-In-Law Has Never Spoken to Me Without Me Speaking to Him First 

Published October 11, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge ID 137481780 © E NGABITO | DREAMSTIME
  • ID 137481780 © E Ngabito | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

In the nine-plus years I've known my now-brother-in-law, he has never once spoken to me without me speaking to him first, though he's far from shy. Not even a "congrats" on the day I married his brother. When I do (begrudgingly) initiate the conversation to be polite, he is sarcastic and rude, but never in front of my husband.

He plans on visiting over the holidays, but I want to make it clear he's not welcome in my home unless he shows me some respect. Would I be out of line to call him out and confront his rudeness? Or should I ignore it since I only see him two or three times a year?

Myrtle Bliss (woman, 29)

Dear Myrtle Bliss,

Rude relatives are an all-too-common problem, especially around the holidays. Confronting your brother-in-law could be the best thing you ever did, or it could backfire and make matters worse. You need to decide if it's worth taking that chance.

It may depend on what kind of visit he's planning on making. If he's only coming to your house for dinner, you could just give him a bit of a cold shoulder. Of course, you should be civil, but if you don't need to strike up a conversation with him, simply don't. A few hours of awkwardness a couple of times a year isn't the worst thing in the world.

If he wants to stay at your house for a few days, that's a whole other ball of wax. It can be very stressful having someone you don't get along with in your home for an extended time, and you don't need to put yourself through that if it's not absolutely necessary. Tell him that your guest room isn't available, and offer up a few nearby hotel options. Heck, it may even be worth paying for the room to save your sanity.

I'm assuming that your husband is aware of the situation. Hopefully you can enlist him to help rectify it. Could he tell his brother to nix the rudeness? If you'd rather talk to the brother-in-law yourself, have your hubby be present to back you up.

However you handle this, try to stay zen and don't let it put too much of a damper on your holiday spirit.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

Fill out my online form.
Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!


About The Author

The Reverend

What's your problem? Need some irreverent counsel on life's conundrums? You can always just "Ask the Rev."


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2023 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation