Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter is answered by film and writing student, Callie Schuette.
I’m having a little trouble with my boyfriend’s sister-in-law, “Marie.” Pretty much everyone in my boyfriend’s family likes me except this girl. I even get along great with her boyfriend (my boyfriend’s brother). I’m 22, my boyfriend is 23, she is 25 and my boyfriend’s brother is 38. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost two years and they have been together for a little over a year before that. The thing is, Marie has made comments to her boyfriend about how I don’t talk to her directly when we are all together. It made me a little angry because she says those things but never really makes an effort to get along better.
Recently, she defriended me from Facebook. I didn’t think much about it (my boyfriend was not happy though) and eventually sent her a friend request without ever bringing it up to her. Some weeks later, she defriended me again. I’m really over this and would like to keep pretending things are normal, enjoying myself around my boyfriend’s family and not caring about what she thinks, but I’m unsure how to behave around her now. Also, her birthday is coming up next week and my boyfriend doesn’t want to go because of her defriending me. I don’t know if I should say something to her, or just keep smiling like nothing happened. I would prefer not to say anything because I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but I’m worried if I never talk to her about this it will only get worse. She has also defriended some of my boyfriend’s cousins from Facebook so I think maybe she just likes to keep her friend count to close friends only. Please give me some advice in how to handle this difficult person! It will be much appreciated. — Favorite Daughter-in-Law
To a degree, I understand your feeling angry about Marie’s comment, but rather than adopting the somewhat obstinate attitude of “What has SHE ever done for ME,” wouldn’t it be far more constructive to try and understand why she might’ve said it? If her problem is essentially that she doesn’t feel like you talk to her, wouldn’t it make the most sense to, you know… make an effort to talk to her?
That said, the whole Facebook thing does seem petty. You could be right; perhaps she does like to keep her friends list tight, but even so defriending you so quickly after you humbled yourself to refriend her is a weird move. And by this point, she may be too far resolved in her feelings of resentment toward you to really salvage the situation. In any case, I’d still recommend you put in some time to talk to her. You’ll be the bigger person in swallowing your sense of being victimized, and attempting to graciously move things forward. Although her birthday party is hardly neutral territory, it could look really good if you were to show up with lots of well-wishes or, better still, a gift (you could ask your boyfriend’s brother what she might like, which would definitely reflect taking an interest).
If she starts responding to your efforts then great! You’ll have yourself another friend in the family. You two may never be really close, but at least there won’t be any festering tension. If, however, more negative comments from her trickle their way down the grapevine to you, do your best to shrug them off and take comfort in the fact that you did or are doing your best to make things better. Or better yet, unless it’s something major, ask your boyfriend’s brother (or your boyfriend) to please keep it to himself. And if it is something major and you feel like you need to say something to her, write it down first and then wait a week to distance yourself. If upon reviewing what you wrote, anything comes across as accusatory, reaching, condescending, self-pitying, or otherwise weak in character, don’t say it. Best to avoid giving her anything else to hold against you.
Whatever you do, avoid being petty or passive-aggressive (which means no ignoring her entirely); if you really are serious about your boyfriend, and she really is serious about her boyfriend/husband (I’m sorry, is she married to your boyfriend’s brother or not? If not, I’m not sure you understand what “in-law” implies… but I digress), you two will be seeing a lot more of each other in the future. It’s not worth it to build a foundation for years of ongoing, stifled nastiness. If she insists on fostering drama, then the best you can do is to keep your head above the fray and continue killing her with kindness (so to speak).
*Callie is a 21-year-old student and aspiring comedic screenwriter from Austin, Texas. She’s pretty well-practiced in the art of giving advice (thanks to her friends, family, and the odd stranger) and attributes her enjoyment in doing so both to her deep sense of empathy and her somewhat nerdy love of analyzing things. She also enjoys excessively long car rides, sweet thai chili sauce, and space westerns.
FireStar November 30, 2011, 8:27 am
You don’t have to like everyone connected to your boyfriends family. All you owe the brother’s girlfriend is to be civil and polite. Since she defriends cousins and others as well I think it is clear to the family where the drama rests. I would act as you normally would – if you would have gone to her birthday then go. Does she warrant extra effort in the gift buying? I’d say no. Actions have consequences. It’s dangerous to set a precedent of chasing after her after she acts poorly to you. You certainly don’t want her to think bad behaviour is met with extra kindness from you. If she wants to act an ass then you will never be her buddy. You already were gracious in sending out the friend request after whatever hissy fit she had. If she wants to talk to you more at events then she should open her mouth. I’m guessing that isn’t the truth however since defriending someone twice isn’t typically how one opens up communication channels. Be polite, be civil and keep your boyfriend in the loop. She might think you are her problem – but she actually has bigger fish to fry if her behaviour is isolating her boyfriend’s brother.
JK November 30, 2011, 8:37 am
You could be right, but the signature to the letter (not sure if LW wrote that) really put me off.
FireStar November 30, 2011, 9:08 am
That wasn’t my favourite either but I wasn’t sure if she signed it or not. Like Jess, I think the “in-law” bit should only be used when you are, in fact, related by law and the favourite part really shouldn’t be for her to say. But if the family did seem to favour the LW a little that might account for the other girlfriend’s bizarre behaviour. Not the smartest play in handling it though – especially since she is 25.
Addie Pray November 30, 2011, 9:28 am
You mean the signature “Favorite Daughter-in-Law”? I’m pretty sure the letter writers do not provide the signature. Wendy or whoever is responding would do that, I believe.
ReginaRey November 30, 2011, 10:12 am
I can answer that question haha. Sometimes the LWs have already provided their sign-offs. If not then Wendy, or the guest contributor, will create one.
MiMi November 30, 2011, 9:34 am
yeah, that “favorite daughter in law” (which appears to be both inaccurate as well as competitive and passive/aggressive) is noxious, LW. You sound like a bit of a troublemaker.
Jess November 30, 2011, 8:49 am
One of my pet peeves is when people who are not married insist on calling themselves the “daughter in law” or “sister in law” or referring to their SO as ‘hubby’. I’m talking about the young couples (that almost always break up a year later), not the ones who’ve been together 8 years and have two kids.
If you want to call this person your husband, and yourself a ‘daughter in law” fucking get married! Or at least engaged. It’s not cute, its annoying, and you’re making marriage less special for yourself by doing it. And you look like an idiot.
caitie_didn't November 30, 2011, 9:04 am
haha, we must have posted our comments at the same time…you were far more blunt than I was, though!
Eagle Eye November 30, 2011, 9:12 am
Hehe, that’s why my bf and our families just refer to everyone as the “sin-in-laws” its much clearer that way! 🙂
mcminnem November 30, 2011, 10:41 am
I love “sin-in-law.” 😛 In my family, it’s “partner in crime.”
kali November 30, 2011, 2:53 pm
And in mine we call each other “out-laws”!
SpaceySteph November 30, 2011, 9:16 am
Thank you. I came down here to say that before even reading Callie’s response. Super peeved by people who use that terminology when it isn’t applicable.
Addie Pray November 30, 2011, 9:31 am
Agreed! And while we are at it, I cannot stand it when women refer to their husbands as “Hubby” – especially “the Hubby”! My sister-in-law does it. And every time I hear it or see it written on her Facebook profile, I barf a little in my mouth.
MissDre November 30, 2011, 10:26 am
Ugh me too. Same goes for “Wifey”
AKchic November 30, 2011, 12:46 pm
*shudder* My 1st ex-husband calls his girlfriends “Wifey” and tries to get people to believe that he married them because he thinks that he is more respectable and distinguished as a married man. When the judge made me contact him last year to see if he’d willingly sign his parental rights over he said “me and my wifey will take full custody”, among other things. I had to laugh. I mean, a white guy in his forties sounding like a ghetto pimp from a bad movie.
LW November 30, 2011, 9:43 am
Short clarification, English is not my mother language (Spanish is, I live in Argentina), and the words we have for “in-laws” don’t actually include the term “in-law”. For example there is a specific word for “father-in-law” (“suegro”), which makes it less literal I guess. Here it is customary to refer to your SO’s family with those terms even though you are still not married. And I only used those terms to keep it easier in the letter so I wouldn’t have to keep writing “my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend” or whatever. My bf and I are not married, his brother and his gf are engaged. Thanks for the advice anyway, I will be updating soon I guess.
bethany November 30, 2011, 10:09 am
Thanks for the clarification!
Addie Pray November 30, 2011, 10:12 am
This makes sense! Sorry we jumped down your throat over semantics. Such a scholarly bunch we are. 😉 But for the record, I still hate the term “Hubby.” 😉
Addie Pray November 30, 2011, 10:13 am
I mean, even though you never used the term Hubby. I just like to talk.
silver_dragon_girl November 30, 2011, 10:36 am
I dislike that term, too. Just last night my friend referred to her sister’s fiance as “hubby.” It’s just…bleh. Not sure why it bugs me.
Fabelle November 30, 2011, 10:51 am
It bugs me as well, just something about how “cutesy” it is. Has anyone heard (or seen online, usually) “DH”? For “dear husband”? I hate that one even more…
silver_dragon_girl November 30, 2011, 11:19 am
OMG I have another friend who uses that one all the time, because it’s so common on the message boards she uses. Drives me batty. It’s so condescending.
Rachel November 30, 2011, 1:07 pm
Oh, is THAT what that stands for? I’ve always wondered about that one.
MJ November 30, 2011, 4:05 pm
For over-the-top cutesy, nothing makes me want to barf like ‘sposies, which refers to disposable diapers and is in use on diapering forums. DEAR GOD SHOOT ME NOW.
Budj November 30, 2011, 4:09 pm
Thanks for making me aware of that term. 🙁
silver_dragon_girl November 30, 2011, 4:44 pm
They have whole forums for diapering? DEAR GOD SHOOT ME NOW.
MJ December 1, 2011, 9:24 am
Cloth diapering! Which is an idea I am kind of into. But not if it requires using the term ‘sposies.
Skyblossom November 30, 2011, 5:30 pm
I’ve never liked terms like hubby either just because they’re so common and so not special to the person.
FireStar November 30, 2011, 10:47 am
Aside: I thought of your obsession with Chick-Fil-A when I saw this. We don’t have it in Canada so I don’t understand your love affair with them…but I think I gotta agree with Anderson Cooper on this one…
Addie Pray November 30, 2011, 2:02 pm
Haha, I love Anderson Cooper. But didn’t your mouth water a bit when it flashed a picture of the chicken sandwich?
FireStar November 30, 2011, 3:48 pm
I’m going to be stateside in February and I’m definitely going to see what all the mad love for chicken is about after how you talk about it. I’m expecting magic.
Addie Pray November 30, 2011, 4:02 pm
I’ll expect a full report, FireStar. Don’t forget to try all of their sauces. And you can’t forget to try the waffle fries too.
And with that, I am officially stopping all the ____-___-_ talk. I’m starting to bore myself. At least I’ll stop for, say, a week. Until someone reminds me of it again. Really, it’s all everybody else’s fault for reminding me of it all the time.
JK November 30, 2011, 10:47 am
I was thinking just that while reading all the comments, here everyone uses the “in-law” terms while dating even.
COnsidering you´re argentina as well I´ll just say no le des bola. 🙂 And your english is really good.
Anthrocuse November 30, 2011, 7:28 pm
ah! I’m glad you said this. I was going to reply and say that it could be cultural. My boyfriend’s first language is not English either, and he sometimes mixes up the words and refers to me as his wife or as my mother as his mother and his sister calls me her sister in law (in their language). It’s hard when there isn’t a direct translation for that relationship in English!
Caris December 3, 2011, 10:41 pm
Eh I have to disagree… I’m from Argentina too and I don’t know anyone who calls their bf’s/gf’s parents suegro/suegra… but I guess it depends on the families per se… I understand that suegro/suegra etc don’t have the “in-law” words in them but that IS what they actually mean…
Allison November 30, 2011, 9:53 am
Drives me crazy, too. By definition, you’re family “by law.” And if not, then you’re not a sister-in-law.
GatorGirl November 30, 2011, 10:01 am
I 100% agree. “In law” clearly refers to being legally bound to the other person…which if their just dating they aren’t. I also think it’s weird when married people refer to their other as a boy/girlfriend…
mcj2011 November 30, 2011, 11:43 am
this is great! LOL
Lamia December 3, 2011, 12:49 am
I do this because I can’t afford to have a wedding and as much as we’d love to just go to court and sign the papers and be married legally, there are several family members who would be deeply hurt since we can’t have everyone come to court, nor can we provide a little after party for everyone.
Just because I don’t have the legal paperwork, doesn’t make my commitment to him any less. To me he is my husband and that’s that.
Miss T March 16, 2012, 12:24 pm
Marriage and commitment are not the same thing. Many people choose not to get married because they feel they don’t need a piece of paper to choose their commitment, or for other reasons that are personal–that’s their right. But in my opinion, and in the opinion of basically all of the courts and religious institutions, you are not husband and wife unless you are actually married. That is not to say that you don’t love each other and have a bond that is just as strong as a married couple, but marriage is a social institution. Saying that you’re husband and wife when you aren’t actually married yet is like saying you’re a doctor while you’re still in medical school and you haven’t graduated yet. Neither the law nor society recognizes it–it’s totally fine if you don’t want society’s approval, but it’s not really logical to be like “We want to get married but there’s some reasons why we haven’t done it yet, so we’re just going to pretend to be married and call each other husband and wife.” If being married just meant saying “Ok, you’re my spouse now,” then the LGBT community wouldn’t have to be fighting to get their rights. What you’re talking about is being in a deeply committed, loving relationship in which you both are happy and know that you will be together forever. But ask anyone who is actually married–many of us felt that way before we were married too, but we quickly realized that the act of actually marrying and being personally, legally and socially recognized as a married couple, is a whooooole different ball game, in both positive and negative ways–and you really can’t understand that until you are actually married.
Lamia March 23, 2012, 11:17 pm
Um actually I -do- understand. Don’t tell me I don’t. You don’t know me. I never said anything about being legally recognized as a married couple. If we could be, we would be, but right now we can’t. That piece of legal documentation isn’t what matters when I refer to him as my husband. It’s not really comparable to claiming to be a doctor.
caitie_didn't November 30, 2011, 8:58 am
I think the LW is really quite lacking in her understanding of what “in-law” means. Maybe this girl doesn’t like her because she acts like she’s a long-term family member, when in fact the other girl (‘sister-in-law’) has been around them longer??
artsygirl November 30, 2011, 9:08 am
There are somethings in life that are beyond our control; a need to eat the entire pint of B&J New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream, the weather, and unfortunately other people. Your BF’s brother’s GF (so complicated) might not like you. You said you have done nothing to antagonize her and that well could be the case, she could be a catty person who dislikes all women – especially younger women – on principle. Maybe your speech patterns annoy her, or your hair color, or a myriad of other things completely out of your control. The one thing in your control is how you respond to her snubbing. I suggest that you shrug off her defriending and complaints and figure that the two of you will never be besties. Make sure you never give her a concrete reason to dislike you, and figure maybe in time she will warm up. I also suggest going to her birthday party and bringing along a nice, but not extravagant gift. It is always better to take the high road otherwise you end up with your shoes caked in mud.
cporoski November 30, 2011, 9:08 am
Facebook and family is tricky. If pictures of you drinking and dancing show up and the whole family can see it, it can get awkward. But there are a million reasons that aren’t about you that she could be distant. Do you think the family likes you better because of the age difference is closer? The best thing to do is stay off facebook and be polite when you see her. Noone says you need to be best friends. Chances are, if she is playing these games, she won’t be around very long.
bethany November 30, 2011, 9:16 am
I’m confused as to why you re-friended her to begin with! She made it clear she didn’t want to be your friend on FB by deleteing you, so you go and re-add her? At this point, stop with the facebooking.
There’s no rule that says everyone has to like everyone else, especially in families (which, by the way, you aren’t even in yet). Be polite and civil. Make small talk about the weather/local sports team/current events, and then move on and talk to someone you like,
fast eddie November 30, 2011, 9:19 am
The SIL may be simply keeping her friends list short. The hide option has disappeared thus if the LW posts too frequently the page can become littered leaving unsubscribe as the only option. It’s regrettable but get over it. I’ve de-friended a few that my wish was to only hide. Facebook itself could be a lot more user friendly. This letter just sounds needy-needy.
AlenaLynn November 30, 2011, 10:30 am
I was going to say something along these lines too. I think now, instead of a “hide updates” option, you can “unsubscribe” from a friend, but still be friends with them. There is a possibility that this girl may not realize this, and may have gotten tired of the LW’s fb posts, or just being reminded about the LW, if she’s not a huge fan of her, and decided that she would rather not receive updates about her. If she didn’t know that there’s now that weird “subscribe” feature, she may have unfriended her to get rid of all the updates. Some people unsubscribe to people they adore (I know one of my best friends unsubscribed from one of our mutual best friends) because of the things (or often, the amount of things!) they post.
fast eddie November 30, 2011, 11:00 am
Thanks Alena, That’s what I’d hoped someone would help me with.
silver_dragon_girl November 30, 2011, 9:26 am
Your boyfriend doesn’t want to go to his sister-in-law’s birthday party because she defriended you on Facebook? Seriously?
Ok. People are OFFICIALLY taking Facebook too seriously here.
Anyway. I think you’re probably right in that the thing to do is just ignore this, see your bf’s brother’s wife at his family and some social events, and leave it at that. Yes, you can try to talk to her and maybe get closer, but only if you want to. You’re not obligated to be BFF’s with the girl, after all. As long as things are cordial are there aren’t any awkward scenes around the dinner table, I think you’re good.
cookiesandcream November 30, 2011, 11:10 am
“People are OFFICIALLY taking Facebook too seriously here.”
THANK YOU! One of my biggest pet peeves are people who take Facebook WAY too seriously! One of my friends gets really offended when someone defriends her on Facebook (I’m talking barely casual acquaintances), and I always wonder why she takes it so personally! Getting off Facebook was such a great decision for me.
I agree with you about ignoring the Facebook friend thing because to make a big deal about it would be beyond petty. I mean, if I were in the LW’s shoes I’d be a little concerned and feel a little bad about the fact that the boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend felt a little ignored by me. I’d go to the party, give a small apology about how you two have never had a proper conversation before and then try to get to know her then. If she rejects you and causes more drama, then that’s her problem; at least you tried.
McLovin November 30, 2011, 8:33 pm
Well said. What is Facebook anyway?
katie November 30, 2011, 9:13 pm
my first question was how do you even notice when someone defriends you on facebook??? i currently have no idea if anyone for the past 5 years has defriended me because i have way better things to pay attention to… lol
yea i think she is making a wayyyy big deal about this facebook stuff…
Allison November 30, 2011, 9:57 am
I don’t think the girlfriend (I refuse to call her a SIL) was trying to keep her friends list short. If so, she wouldn’t have accepted the second friend request and then turned around and defriended you. Though, I’m not sure the point of that in any case. But, whatever, it’s Facebook. I know that Facebook apparently causes divorces and things these days, but if you guys aren’t friends on Facebook, big deal. Stop sending her friend requests.
The thing that stuck out to me was that she explicitly says that you don’t talk directly to her. You don’t address whether that’s true or not. Unless she’s honestly just making it up, even if you don’t think it’s true, it’s apparently her perception. Try making a better effort with her. Make an effort to get to know her. Or as the above commenter says, you don’t have to — just keep things polite if you don’t want to be her friend.
AlenaLynn November 30, 2011, 10:33 am
I know a fair amount of people who feel bad about not accepting friend requests, so they’ll accept them, and then when they think enough time has passed that the other person will not notice, they unfriend the person.
We could read into the comments the girlfriend made to her boyfriend, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and propose that perhaps she was just venting privately, and he shared something that probably would have been best left private. Instead, he encouraged (likely accidentally) the LW’s doubts and discomfort.
oldie November 30, 2011, 10:35 am
I was struck by that as well. If pseudo-SIL (I understand different culture, but think it would be nice if LWs mentioned not being from US culture up-front. It would save confusion and unwanted negative responses due to that confusion) defriended LW and accused her of not talking directly to her, then I suspect that LW said some things (complaints?, too-personal comments?) to her via facebook, rather than in person or by phoning or e-mailing her.
GatorGirl November 30, 2011, 10:04 am
LW, I think your ideas are right. Don’t pay any mind to her and enjoy times you get to spend with your BF’s family. I had a similar-ish issue with my BF’s step-sister, and it eventually faded and we’re good friends now. Keep being polite and she’ll come around. Or she won’t and you’ll look like the better person.
As far as the birthday party- you and your BF should make an appearance. Stop by for a drink and then excuse yourself due to a headache, another commitment, anything.
LSD November 30, 2011, 10:20 am
My boyfriend of 5.5 years mother defriended me on facebook twice as well! I would suggest just ignoring it. There is nothing you can do about other people’s behavior all you can control is how you react. If you don’t react you are showing that you are not going to be distracted by petty things. I know its hard to not react, believe me the first time I was defriended I had a slight overreaction, but in the long run it is better for your relationship if you leave your issues, the small ones, alone. You don’t want this to blow up into some family feud over facebook, there are better things to fight over!
As for the birthday party…go, be extra friendly, bring a small gift like a candle, and then leave it. She can make the next move if she wants. If not there are plenty of SIL who don’t get along but it can be their private business not family business.
Kate B November 30, 2011, 10:23 am
I have nothing to add here, except to wonder do people really get this worked up over something that happens on Facebook?
Budj November 30, 2011, 10:28 am
She doesn’t have to like you…you don’t have to like her. Be cordial in public / at events – if she acts out that reflects poorly on her…
Insist on going to the party…it would be silly to cause potential tension between brothers over a facebook shunning.
Flanagan.er November 30, 2011, 10:35 am
Wow, there’s a lot of hate for the use of “in-law”. There isn’t really a concise way of saying my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend. For brevities sake, I really dont think it’s that bad.
Fabelle November 30, 2011, 10:57 am
I agree, even before she clarified in the comments, I figured she just wrote it that way to save time. It’s more confusing to me to keep reading “my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend” over and over. Plus, we don’t know where the letter has been edited down so it’s better to not be so harsh over little issues like that.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com November 30, 2011, 10:46 am
Kill her with kindness.
That was my mom’s advice to me about a female bully in high school. I thought she was off her rocker (my mom) but tried anyway because I had exhausted everything else.
Here’s how it works.
1. Apologize: Tell your SIL that you’re sorry for hurting her (doesn’t matter if you really are).
2. Validate: Tell her that you can understand how and why she feels the she feels. Tell her you might feel the same way in her shoes. Maybe, if you want to go the extra mile, pay her a compliment.
3. Make Your Point: Tell her that you want to have a good relationship with her and explain where/why that has been difficult. If there is anything specific you’d like from her (ex: FB friendship, asking her to tell you when she’s upset, etc), say it here. She’s most likely to HEAR you after you’ve given her self-esteem a boost in points 1/2.
In this way you neutralize your opponent and its VERY effective. That’s the cynical way to look at it. However, what I have found in most cases is that when I start “acting” nice and making an effort to relate to a difficult person, in almost all cases, I end up ACTUALLY liking and relating to the person. Funny, how that works, huh? 😉
Fabelle November 30, 2011, 10:59 am
I echo everyone who says to just let it slide for now, maybe act exta-friendly to her (not in a fake way), and don’t mention the Facebook thing. Maybe she did it as a purposely bitchy gesture, but it could be that she’s not as immersed in the whole Facebook thing & doesn’t see “un-friending” as something that could be hurtful.
mandalee November 30, 2011, 11:12 am
As annoying as it may be, you’re not going to get along with everyone in your boyfriends’ family, or everyone anywhere for that matter. I wouldn’t recommend skipping her party over Facebook, I mean really, it’s Facebook. If she’s trying to make some statement about you over Facebook, well let her play in the middle school playground and you can stick to being a grown-up.
She may never like you and always complain about you. My sister in-law is a very hard to like person- she complains a lot and is a huge drama queen, but I have always been nice to her but apparently I’m not the “BFF” she envisioned so she is always starting some kind of drama. The most effective way I’ve been able to handle it is showing up for family get togethers, smiling, being nice, and acting unaffected about her attitude. There’s no reason you have to stoop to her level.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 11:50 am
Me thinks that there is clearly MORE to this story than we have been told. Especially if the LW did in fact come up with that oh-so-nasty and oh-so-passive-aggressive signature —- which, frankly, and sadly, sounds very much in line with the rest of the letter. Really? So, you’re the favorite, huh? You REALLY see this as a competition? Moreover, one that you are winning? If this is even remotely at all true, no wonder she up and defriended you.
My big question is this: Do you ever actually talk to the SIL directly? My guess is probably not because you simply deflect the question by not REALLY answering it. Instead you simply pile more blame onto the SIL.
Sure the defriending move is petty. But then, really, so is the entire tone of this letter in my opinion. The idea that you continue to ignore both this situation and the girl in question will do precious little to improve things. Trust me on this. So seriously, make a little effort. You don’t want this to become a competition, because if it does it will only be one that you BOTH lose.
LW November 30, 2011, 1:15 pm
I know, I know, that LW are not supposed to really respond to anything but really I want to get all the help I can on this issue and so I will add some information.
I DID COME UP WITH THE SIGNATURE. I know it’s stupid, and I don’t think it as a competition, but it’s just she has had trouble with almost EVERYONE in the family.
The lamest thing in this entire facebook feud is that nothing has happened between us. We don’t get along great but more in an awkard than anything way.
And on the talk to her directly thing, I actually tried to when I first heard the remark. I don’t think it made a difference. One of the responses hits the mark I guess, that maybe it was something that she told her boyfriend in private and he shouldn’t have said anything. The thing that bothered me was that it was after the remark and that I had made a point of talking directly to her that she defriended me for the second time, so I kinda felt that my efforts were for nothing.
What really worries me is that, her defriending me made my boyfriend really angry at her and at his own brother for not doing anything about it. I realize now that I have to make my best effort to keep everything at peace at least for my boyfriend’s sake and his relationship with his brother.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 1:19 pm
Why even tell your boyfriend though? I don’t know that I would even bother to bring this up to a guy a was dating. Seriously. You are making mountains out of molehills here… Dragging your boyfriend into this when he is clearly hotheaded and prone to blowing issues such as this way out of proportion was not exactly the move of somebody who truly wants to keep the peace.
LW November 30, 2011, 1:27 pm
You are right. At the time I laughed at it and how ridiculous it was, and I told him because I thought he would laugh too. The problem was, was is also fed up with some of her comments and actions and he really sees more of a threat on her because she could eventually get between him and his brother (they are getting married next September). Luckily he has calmed down since (I sent this letter some weeks ago).
I’m just over trying to force something that won’t happen natutally I guess. I’m happy as long as we are civil towards each other and we can get along.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 1:32 pm
Well, tell him that one way to make her more than just problem is to go on all out offensive against her which will only guarantee that she does in fact turns his brother against him. Your BY is acting really, well, to be blunt, dumb here in my opinion.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 1:32 pm
BY = BF. Sorry, typo…
LW November 30, 2011, 1:39 pm
Yeah, that was exactly what I told him. He wanted to call her out on everything she does because noone will. I told him that was insane. I think that he believed that his brother would get over this girl and now that they are getting married he went a little nuts.
BTW, we didn’t go to her birthday party but we bought her a present, a t-shirt. She made a face, a remark about it not being her choice of color and also that the size was too big (without even trying it on). I just told her she could return it but I could see the steam coming out of my BF ears.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 2:00 pm
Well, that was pretty passive aggressive NOT to go to the party. What color was the shirt? What size was it? I mean, I have been purposely gifted things in the past that people had to know I wouldn’t like…. I trust that this wasn’t one of those occasions.
It seems to me though, that you two are pretty much doing all you can to piss this girl off. I mean, just go to the fucking party. Seriously. You claim to be desperately trying to keep the peace, yet seem to be doing a horrible job of it. For one, it is obvious to anybody reading your letter that you BOTH despise this girl. I don’t see how you can really blame her for picking up on it.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 2:09 pm
All I’m saying is seriously try to reboot your entire approach to the relationship. Don’t be civil. Be NICE. Be genuinely nice and pleasant to be around. Be interested in what she has to say. Stop viewing her as a threat — as that guarantees she will be one. So, yeah. Be nice. Even is she isn’t at least you won’t be the one to blame. Seriously. Just BE NICE. You might be surprised by her reaction.
LW November 30, 2011, 2:24 pm
Ok. I swear I didn’t purposely gift her anything horrible on purpose. My point is, if you don’t think it’s the right size, fucking accept it with a smile and return it later. We all have to return gifts because of sizes and personal taste, I just think it’s rude to tell it to the face of the person giving the gift, specially if you are not on great terms.
I’m just over this, the birthday was almost a month ago and we have been on cordial terms ever since. She has made some kind comments to my boyfriend so I suspect I’m the only one she has a problem with. I really don’t want to feel like I have to impress her anymore. If everyone else likes me just fine and I don’t interfere with my boyfriend’s relationship with his brother, I’m good.
I know this doesn’t sound good, but you just don’t know this girl. She is the kind that gives dirty looks and makes comments on everything from the cooking to the thing we are watching on tv to the home to anything. I’m just way over it.
Christy November 30, 2011, 3:45 pm
From your posts, it sounds like this woman is just difficult and likes drama. I think avoiding her is a good idea, including not going to the birthday party. I disagree with BGM. You can be nice but not have to be in her presence. Life’s too short to bend over backwards for people who can’t even accept a birthday gift graciously!
AKchic November 30, 2011, 12:35 pm
First off – she isn’t your SIL, no matter how much you want to shorten labels. Neither of you are married into the family, therefore neither of you ARE family to the actual brothers. The two of you are merely girlfriends of brothers.
Perhaps she doesn’t appreciate your over-familiarity and willingness to label the both of you AS family when she isn’t ready for it. Perhaps if you are this laisse-faire in your labeling of the two of you, then maybe your facebook feeds are just as offensive to her? I’ve defriended actual FAMILY for their whiney, pro-welfare-mooching/cheating opinions. My aunt is about two posts away from getting deleted herself for the same crap.
She is dating someone much older than the rest of you. I wonder if perhaps he actually approves of her choice to defriend you, but says otherwise to you and your BOYFRIEND’s faces to “keep the peace” in social settings. I kind of doubt you call in private to ask, but bring it up in social settings.
Drop it. If she has already said you don’t make an effort to get to know her, then make one. Don’t expect best-friend status. I keep my facebook page clean, and I’m assuming she does too. There is only one person on there that I haven’t met in person, but we’ve chatted for years on a pain support group that it makes no nevermind.
You and your boyfriend are being petty.
LW November 30, 2011, 1:32 pm
That’s a rather mean post for all the things you are assuming. As I already clarified, I don’t call anyone in my boyfriend’s family “in-laws”, I just used the terms for the sake of keeping the letter a little clearer. I don’t post anything about my boyfriend’s family on FB, I barely post at all, if anything she might have defriended me for how little I post. And I don’t think my boyfriend’s brother cares about the defriending as long as we can all get along.
AKchic November 30, 2011, 2:17 pm
Well – now you’ve come up with an idea of why she may have defriended you, all on your own.
After scrolling back and reading some comments (some weren’t even here when I originally started writing, but thanks to work, it took me one helluva long time to actually write out my post), I see where you have clarified a few things.
Was she difficult to get along with prior to the engagement? Do they have kids (I can’t remember if you said they had one or not, and with my lack of sleep lately, my memory is NOT being helpful)?
If there is a kid: Sounds like the brother is sticking with the chick because he feels he has no other option.
If there isn’t: He sees something in her that nobody else does. Hopefully it’s her cooking and everyone can benefit from it.
As far as facebook – drop it. If you aren’t on facebook often, who really cares? Life doesn’t revolve around it. If she wants to be friends, then she can make the first move.
Christy November 30, 2011, 1:13 pm
There are some people who are really into Facebook and the symbolism of “liking” their posts and commenting, whatever. So maybe when she defriended you the first time, it was in response to you not “talking” (i.e. Facebooking) with her. Maybe when you refriended her but still didn’t talk to her she got upset again.
I knew someone who was like that and it was super annoying, as someone who doesn’t live on Facebook. She would comment on everything on my Facebook and if I didn’t comment back or like her posts she would get offended. But Facebook was a big form of social interaction for her, so I guess it was like not talking to her. My advice is to find out from your boyfriend and other friends if she is one of those people, or if she has some bigger problem with you. Maybe being friendlier on Facebook is all it will take!
Chaotonic November 30, 2011, 2:12 pm
It really seems like your boyfriend is upset that you’re being treated like crud and he’s taking this more to heart then you are. Continue being nice to her when you see her especially at family functions but I also suggest you not getting in between her and your boyfriend, if he wants to “tell her off” for being petty and disagreeable because “no one else will” then let him, its not anyone’s place to tell him no if he feels that strongly about it. It just seems like her defriending and making disparaging remarks towards you was just icing on the cake for his own feelings. Just remember that if you two decide to marry and she does marry his brother in September then you are family and you will be seeing a lot of each other.
bittergaymark November 30, 2011, 2:22 pm
Yeah, he should do all he can to piss off his sisterinlaw like a total idiot. That’s a great idea. That’ll make for some swell Christmases…
No, if he is acting like an idiot, she would do well to reel him in a bit.
Chaotonic November 30, 2011, 3:46 pm
But Christmas is so much more fun with family drama 🙁
*HmC* November 30, 2011, 2:43 pm
Before reading the letter, I just wanted to say, is there ever a logical, emotionally healthy reason for putting yourself in a situation where you “keep” getting defriended by anyone? Shouldn’t once be enough to take a hint?
Ok off to read…
kali November 30, 2011, 2:46 pm
Really? This is such a first world issue…
Still, if you want an answer: kill her with kindness, go out of your way to speak to her directly, and get your boyfriend to back off. This is not his fight. My brother-in-law never liked me but I was never anything but sweet and kind to him. On purpose. Even if she never comes around, your sincere, politeness will either win her over or drive her crazy.
Eagle Eye November 30, 2011, 2:46 pm
Look, as someone (like most people) who has a batsh!t crazy family – take my advice (or more particularly, take my mother’s actions with my father’s family into account. Be nice, be gracious, and hold your tongue – if you’re not blood related, never butt in and generally accept that though you may disagree, always be the bigger person.
Now, don’t be bullied or become a doormat, but always handle any and all interactions with the family with as much grace as you can muster.