How to Avoid Limits and Burnout Navigating Family Events

Dear Amy, I am a single man living close to my parents and siblings.

We’re pretty close, except we have very different beliefs and styles.

In our family, there is a constant stream of birthdays, holidays, family celebrations, etc.

My parents also have a lake house that they bought a decade ago and they constantly invite me to stay there on the weekends, even though I remind them every time I work on the weekends.

In the spring/summer, there seems to be one or two family events a week and I burn out.

I wish I could attend one a month.

If I say I don’t want to go to an event, they get very upset and repeatedly ask me to introduce myself. It is always a battle.

I’m 37, but I feel 17.

How can I get out of these constant family events without moving to another part of the country?

Is it acceptable to lie in this case? I could tell them I have to work.

– Anonymous

Dear Anonymous: It seems like lying might not be effective, since you tell your parents you have to work weekends and they don’t believe you, forget, or just want to make sure you feel included in every invitation.

People have different attitudes and social skills. You have the right to lead your social life however you want.

You should tell your family members: “I appreciate how close we are, but the number of family gatherings overwhelms me. When you say ‘no’ to an invitation, don’t take it personally and don’t push me about it. I just burn. I really need you to respect this.”

If you continue to feel overwhelmed, harassed, pressured, or fighting with family members, use a more assertive type of “Remember? No means no.”

you’re an adult. If moving away from family is necessary for your own sense of autonomy and independence, then you should consider it.

Dear Amy, In your response to “Nervous” you pointed out how many of your questions are about people inviting themselves to vacation at someone else’s house.

When a friend of ours, a Florida resident, got tired of the almost constant visitors during the winter season, she finally came up with this response: “I’d love to see you! Let me know when you get settled in your hotel, call me and we’ll see each other”.

– faithful reader

Dear Reader: Limits are often born out of despair.

  • Ask Amy: Raffle tickets for a plate? The unusual rule of a shared party sparks debate

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter. @asking or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.