84 More Sleeps


Dear Dharma,

Do you have family members that just annoy you? I have an uncle who I find rude and obnoxious. He likes to tell other family members, myself included, how to live their lives and demean them when they make choices different to his.

For example, how dare I live with my boyfriend without being married! Clearly my parents did a terrible job raising me. I know some of my other family members are also irritated by him, but we’re still trying to have relationships with him because he is family. Cutting him out of our lives because we find him annoying seems cruel. However, every time I talk to him at family functions, I find myself trying to determine how I can have a relationship with someone I can’t stand.

Please help Dharma. Christmas isn’t that far off and I’m already dreading seeing him then. What should I do?

Already Dreading the Holidays

Dear Dreading,

Yikes, you’re right!  Only 84 more sleeps until Christmas!  (How many of you just shuddered…)

Your uncle sounds charming.  It’s actually kind of nice you continue to allow him a place at the dinner table year after year, and I really can’t believe no one has called him out on his super toxic attitude.

So here’s the good news – you don’t actually have to have a ‘relationship’ with him beyond these family functions, you just need to come up with a few standard responses to help get you through.

How about when he says… okay, really, fill in the blank, because it sounds like whatever comes out of his mouth has the ability to offend – but what if your response was, “Huh! I really don’t see it that way, but I appreciate you sharing your opinion with me, Uncle Bob!” Smile, smile, smile and then refill your drink.

Ha, and what if you all bond together and take the same approach… so every time he says something nasty the feedback gets reinforced across the board… Fun, right? You’d hope he would start to get the message, non?

Regardless – you’ve done your part.  You haven’t been rude, you’ve given him a few minutes, and you’re making it clear that you’re not going to let his negativity ruin your night.

If you decide to do this (especially en masse!), I would love to hear how it goes, so be sure to hit me back, okay?

Oh – and here are a few other techniques…


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  • Uncle Bob says:

    OMG the entitlement factor is blasting through the roof at Dharma these days!
    wah wah! someone borrowed my dress and didn’t send me a slobbery thank you card, wah oh no someone might see a picture of me doing something stupid, wah..I don’t have perfect relatives…

    makes me want to puke.
    hey guess what, maybe IT’S YOU! maybe your uncle is really giving you some tough love because your dippy hippy parents told you the sun shone out your hairy butthole your whole life, and now you can’t take any kind of criticism without having a total hissy kaflucktion!
    I am guessing the rest of your family who is annoyed with your uncle is also the 20 something crowd who just can’t take hearing it like it is.

    • sunshine471 says:

      Huh! I really don’t see it that way, but I appreciate you sharing your opinion with us, Uncle Bob!

    • Dharma says:

      I think by your comment that you really may be the Uncle Bob in question!

      I do think there is a difference in constructive criticism and just plain nastiness, but I’m not sure you will be able to see that distinction…

      I also don’t know if I think the LW’s entire family could be in the 20 something crowd, and they all seem to feel the same way, but I’ll leave the math part to you, Bob, as it sounds like you know what you’re talking about… 🙂

  • Georgia says:

    I laughed so hard rootbeer came out my nose.

  • Penelope says:

    As much as I laughed at Uncle Bob’s comment, i would have a different approach.
    Bob: your parents did a terrible job if raising you!
    You: they did a better job than their parents did raising there children
    Bob: you are a loser and so is your spouse!
    You: doesn’t 2 losers make 1 winner
    Bob: why don’t you get a better job?
    You: applied to be satan’s soul sucker but that position was filled
    Bob: you are ugly and stupid!
    You: well damn, look at the gene pool I’m working from
    It probably won’t mend any fences and Bob May have a coronary but, you will all be able to look back at this family gathering and chuckle!!!!

  • Dharma says:

    Haha, Satan’s soul sucker, that’s funny. I’m wondering who they filled the position with… Bob, any thoughts on that?

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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