Family Feuds: How to Keep the Peace

Dear Ms. Demeanor:

We're having a family reunion, but there's one problem: My father and his brother haven't spoken to each other in 15 years. Should we invite my uncle? He still talks to several of our other relatives.



Read more

Dear Sandra:

If you're having a family reunion, then all the family members should be invited. Perhaps they won't all show. However, they deserve the courtesy of having a choice. Your father's cold war with his brother is their problem and has nothing to do with the rest of you. Family reunions are meant to bring people together, not further divide them. If your dad complains about his brother's invitation, it's fair to say something like, "Uncle Bob is as much a part of the family as we are. It would be mean not to include him. I'm sure you understand. It would mean a lot to all of us if you'd at least make him feel welcome, even if you choose not to socialize with him that day." Frankly, excluding your uncle would reflect far worse on the reunion's organizers than on the estranged brothers. Good luck.