Raging Sibling

14 Mar

Dear LetterBalm: I live a couple of hours from my hometown, and I visit family and friends there several times a year. I don’t have a car, so I come by train and rely on others, mostly my brother, to drive me around. I always pay for gas and food. When my brother drives me, I’m terrified. He’s a terrible driver, and he has major road rage. I’m scared to be in the car with him. I stay with him and my sister-in-law, so the three of us are often on the road together. My sister-in-law makes the best of it – my brother doesn’t like to be challenged, and he takes it badly. I must tell him, but how?

–Nervous Wreck

Ms. L.B. says there’s no excuse for tolerating unsafe behavior. But challenging your brother on his driving will be pointless, and he may become doubly angry because he and his wife are providing you with free accommodations. You must make other arrangements for transportation and a place to stay during your visits. It’s unfair to rely on others who may be busy with children or parents living at home. You might check out Websites like airbnb.com that offer cheap rooms in local homes. If you drive, can you rent a car cheaply or borrow one from a friend where you live? If not, is public transportation possible? Can you limit your schedule so you’re not depending too much on others? Get cracking, but before your next visit, you must send your brother and his wife an e-mail or a private message from your Facebook page. Something like:

Earl and Sally,

In the future I won’t be staying with you when I come to Springfield to visit. I’ve decided that I’ve imposed on your generosity too often, and I’m making other arrangements for myself. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me. I’ll be sure to get in touch before I arrive so we can plan to get together. I’d love to take you both out to dinner, and I look forward to seeing you.



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