How to tell a friend they’re spamming your group chat

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Anonymous / Somerville

The irritations of the group chat are not at all insignificant! Group chat is an underrated medium. I am part of a couple who have been a huge source of support over the past two years.

Are other people in the chat bored with the individual food chain as well? Maybe check with one or two to make sure you’re not the only one – but don’t follow him up by confronting him with ‘we all think you should quit’. This approach makes a person paranoid and defensive, reasonably enough. Instead, suggest that she start a food Instagram, and then a few others can say how great a good idea that is.


My sister had a baby in January. I heard from the family that she threatened to take me out of her life if I didn’t visit her before the baby was 1 year old. We were close until six or seven years ago when my husband stayed at home with our children while I was there. her second adult-only marriage. She lives a full day’s trip away (I should take time off from work), in a state where vaccination and masking rates are extremely low. I want to model positive adult sibling relationships for my children (too young to vaccinate)! What do you suggest?

SJ / Belmont

In life, as in show biz, you don’t always get the role you want. Your sister is trying to control and manipulate you and there is no good relationship to have with someone who does that. You weren’t offered the role of “BFF Sis”, but the juicy “Boundary Queen” cameo did, and as an agent, I advise you to take it. Your kids need to see this too. If one of them, an adult, was treated like your sister treats you, what would you want them to do? Risking their health and that of your grandchildren to submit to the frankly unnecessary demands of another person? Probably not!

His rumor-raisin ultimatum is bitterly hilarious, if you take a minute to understand how weird that is. (I can just imagine your sister as the kidnapper, not saying what the ransom is or where to leave her, because “If you really care about yourself, you would know!”) Does she think you are? medium? Of course not: it’s not about your powers of perception, it’s about his power to create the reality that the rest of you have to live in. You can – and for the sake of your children, should – deny this power. Don’t respond to anything she (or someone else, for that matter) doesn’t tell you directly, and don’t allow her to punish you for perfectly reasonable behavior. Boundary Queen is a great role, SJ, you get it.


Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a doctorate in psychology.


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