Family business

Joey Garcia

My wife and I are planning to sell our home but we don’t want to work with her brother, a newly minted Realtor. We’re hopeful for his success but he’s a difficult personality and we would rather not deal with him. We’re also afraid that when something goes wrong—as it usually does in his endeavors—holiday gatherings with our extended family will suffer. My wife found a Realtor we both like. Do we owe my brother-in-law a call about this in advance or after the house is sold?

It doesn’t sound as if you or your wife confide in your brother-in-law about business transactions, so continue that practice. But also accept that your brother-in-law will have an opinion about the listing and sale. He might shrug it off. He might be stunned into silence. He could go ballistic. He may stop talking to you for a while. Or he might talk incessantly about his listings and sales, leaving you to wonder whether refusing to hire him was the right choice. No matter what he says or does, remind yourself that his reaction has nothing to do with your choice to sell your home the way you want to sell it. Don’t apologize to him for your decision. Stand by your decision. Acknowledge his feelings (“I understand”) but, in this situation, don’t take responsibility for causing his feelings. If he presses you to tell him why you chose a different Realtor, be honest. Tell him you were concerned about tension at family events if things went sideways. If you do business with other family members and he mentions it, let him know that the two of you need to build transparency and trust in order to work together in the future.

My boyfriend had an affair with an older woman when he was 21 years old. That was 20 years ago. My boyfriend and I barely knew each other back then. Fast-forward to today. My mother is throwing a huge party and has invited this older woman, who has become her friend through an odd coincidence. My mother knows what she’s doing. I told my mother that her friend’s presence makes both my boyfriend and I uncomfortable because this older woman basically manipulated my boyfriend into a relationship. My mother laughed. There are people coming to the party that I want to see. My boyfriend doesn’t want to go. I understand but I’m so disappointed because we were going to announce our engagement. Please help.

Don’t steal the spotlight from your mother by announcing your engagement at her party. She will be annoyed and that’s not the vibe you deserve for your good news. Instead, reevaluate your interpretation of your mother’s response. You told her this woman makes you and your man uncomfortable. Your mother did nothing. You could surmise that your request and comfort mean less than her friend’s presence. You could imagine that your mother’s laughter is an insult. But it’s more likely your mother knows she has the authority to invite whomever she desires to her own party. In response, you can RSVP yes or no. If you choose to stay home, spend the time planning your own party. Create an engagement event that will leave a sweet taste in your heart. And invite your mother—or not.

Meditation of the week
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love,” said Rumi, poet and Islamic scholar. What magnet yearns for you?

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.