Dealing with a friend who won’t listen to other people’s views – The Boston Globe

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My son is getting married in the fall and the wedding is limited to core family members and friends. Since my father’s death, my older brother has been battling us all. It’s so bad he is not on speaking terms with most of us. My son is leaving it to me if we should invite him. Since the wedding is a several day affair, my gut instinct is to not invite him so we don’t cause any verbal blowups. But could not inviting him make things worse?

Anonymous / Boston

Yup, it absolutely could make things worse. But there are risks either way. The one thing that’s crystal clear from your letter is that your son does not want the responsibility of making this decision or dealing with any possible repercussions, which is understandable. Taking this off his shoulders is a gift. But that doesn’t mean you have to make the call all by your lonesome self.

Who is “us all”? Other siblings, I assume? I think you should speak with them and make your decision as a group. The last thing you want is for your decision — whatever it turns out to be — to cause yet more family upheaval.

If it turns out that everyone else’s gut instinct is the same as yours, the choice is clear. If there are family members urging that Older Brother be invited, perhaps they can be tasked with keeping an eye on him during the celebrations, and reining him in if necessary. If they want him there but refuse to take responsibility…well, I’m just an only child — sibling hypocrisy is above my pay grade. But I bet you’d know exactly how to handle it!

My friend corrects my statements if they do not agree with her ideas. If I try to reply she shouts “Stop! Just stop!” at me, never giving me a chance to explain, as she keeps on yelling at me that she has the right and only way. I am not the only one she does this to and we are sick of it. What to do?

Anonymous / Wakefield

What a charmer! Clearly talking to her isn’t going to get you anywhere. Write her a note explaining this dynamic and that you don’t like it. Has she always been like this? Or is this behavior new? If so, what do you think has changed? (And if not, why were you friends with her to begin with?) You might want to try a sympathetic tone, and ask if she has any underlying problems with you/the friend group, or if she’s been going through a particularly hard time. And then — this is the hard part — leave if she yells at you. Hang up, put money down and exit the restaurant, whatever. Don’t get mad, don’t defend yourself — just leave. Fires extinguish when they don’t get oxygen.

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

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