My husband and I have been part of a family text thread where we communicate with my siblings and their spouses about what’s going on in our lives. Recently, we’ve been in touch regarding one sibling’s health crisis, all of us offering supportive comments.
Concurrently, my husband and I made a decision to retire to a longtime favorite location, after many cross-country moves over three decades. Two of my siblings offered supportive comments — from the other, nary a peep. We shared photos and details of the home we’re buying there and received enthusiastic responses from two siblings. The sibling in question has offered support to our sibling with the health crisis but has seemed to pointedly ignore our moving news completely.
Since I’d previously felt close to the unresponsive sibling, I was disappointed not to have at least gotten a “good luck.”
I can’t help feeling they must feel it’s a bad idea or have some other reason for feeling negative about our decision. Therefore, I’m feeling that going forward I should share news of our move only with the two responsive siblings, since it seems the other one simply couldn’t care less.
What are your thoughts?
I think it’s absolutely astonishing that you’re poised to punish a till-now “close” sibling because you “can’t help feeling they must feel” they “have … reason for feeling” that “it seems” “I’m feeling” they “seemed to pointedly” feel. Or seem. Or point.
A lot of seem and feel, signifying nothing.
Before you start a cold war, at least make even a cursory effort to find out whether the other side is actually on the other side.
It is especially important to do so when the infraction is minor compared with the strength of the intended punishment; particularly so when communicating in a group, and keenly so when doing so by text — as informal a means of communication as there is, short of an emoji string — and uniquely so when family harmony is on the line.
And it is emphatically important to hold out for facts when there are multiple, perfectly good alternative explanations for the perceived offense at hand.
Such as: Your sibling missed your announcement, for whatever reason; or meant to respond at a more opportune time but forgot; or remembered but let it go after seeing the thread had moved on to other topics. Or this sib felt funny celebrating your move in the (ahem) same e-breath as lamenting another’s crisis.
Whatever it is, let this sibling be the one to tell you what this sibling thinks. In the meantime, either carry on as usual with an eye out for other signs things are amiss, or go bold and call to say hi and catch up.
I’d say just to ask your sibling about it outright, but I can’t think of any way to phrase, “You didn’t text me ‘good luck’ on my new house and the other two siblings did, are you mad at me?” that would pass the advisory self-respect test.
Choose not to take things personally, and watch most problems go away.
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