DEAR ABBY: I cannot stand my husband’s sister. She thinks way too much of herself. She “had” to get married to a foreigner (who NEVER works), and her three grown sons still live at home and don’t work or go to school. She works several odd jobs to support the lazy men in her life.
She’s 53, but she was always rebellious and a hell-raiser. At family events she dresses like a streetwalker. My poor husband was embarrassed at the last family wedding because she was so scantily dressed and looking for attention. It about kills me and my children whenever she comes over to our house with her drugged-out husband. She is rude to me and makes backhanded comments.
I can’t believe that after all these years, I still tolerate this garbage. I’d love to end these get-togethers, but how do I do it, because she’s “family”? — FED UP SISTER-IN-LAW
DEAR FED UP: It shouldn’t be all that hard to accomplish. Tell your husband that because of the way his sister has treated you all these years, you are finally drawing the line. You no longer want her (or her drugged-up husband) in your home. If they drop by unexpectedly, tell them you can’t entertain them right then and suggest that in the future they call before showing up.
At family functions you must attend, limit your exposure to her. Be polite but concentrate on other relatives whose company you do enjoy. You can’t control her mouth or what she wears, but you can choose to ignore the woman, and that’s what I recommend.
DEAR ABBY: This is in response to “Bad Idea,” (Dec. 15), the parents who don’t want their daughter to join the Peace Corps for fear she will return only to mooch off them until she’s gainfully employed again.
I agree they should voice their concerns to her before she goes, but you missed an opportunity to educate your readers. Yes, she is putting a lucrative career on hold, but she is doing it to SERVE HER COUNTRY. I doubt your response would have been the same had she been leaving her job for a military career.
The Peace Corps will train her to work in a developing nation, where she will be sharing her expertise and American goodwill with others while learning a new language and culture. She will gain compassion, understanding and a world view that will influence her decisions for the rest of her life. She will learn that success is not just about the almighty dollar; it’s more about finding meaningful work you enjoy and can be proud of.
Although the Peace Corps is a volunteer organization, volunteers do receive a stipend upon completion of their service so they can ease back into the American workforce without a handout from Mom and Dad. And by the way, I nailed every job interview upon my return from my years of service because I had something unique and interesting to bring to the table. — RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER (SWAZILAND 1980-82)
DEAR VOLUNTEER: Volunteerism is a boon to our society as well as other societies who benefit from it. Almost 25 percent of Americans volunteer their time and talents at one time or another.
Many readers besides you wrote describing the satisfaction they have derived in addition to what they learned while working in the Peace Corps. I hope your letter will allay the parents’ fears.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)