Dear Savvy Auntie,

I have two nieces, let's call them 32 and 36, who both have children. The 36-year-old has two teenage boys and the 32-year-old has two girls under the age of 5 with another one due in a few weeks.

36 lives nearby but I never hear from her unless she wants something. 32 lives about 5 hours away and I keep in contact via computer and plan visits a couple times a year.

My problem is that 36 started an argument with me via Facebook a few months ago and has deleted me as her friend. It all started over pictures I posted of 32's girls on my Facebook profile. Quite honestly, I've had it with 36's drama and tantrums and am kind of glad she de-friended me. I don't feel guilty at all, since I helped 36 out a lot when her boys were little. They don't need me anymore, and it's someone else's turn now.

A few weeks ago, 36 sent me a friend request, which I ignored. I know another will be coming soon. Should I accept the request or ignore again?

Once De-Friended Auntie

Dear Once De-Friended Auntie,

I have worked with families for more than forty years and have come up with a definition of “FAMILY”: The intent to stay connected even when it requires catering to a member’s “crazies”; as it most often does. So, if you want to remain “family” with 36, cater to what seems are her feelings of jealousy, resentment, control, and deprivation. Keep in mind the words “I was right” are written on every tombstone of relationships. I think you already know all this! I suggest you give her family more time and attention (teenagers can need more of this than we think), more respect for her Facebook “rules” and more consideration in general, that is if you want to stay family with this niece. She sounds like a difficult person, but, that’s what savvy aunties are for…right?

Best Wishes,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Published: May 8, 2011
Republished: September 6, 2017
Homepage image: mimagephotography ,

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