Question: Dear Luise: I need some advice, because I’ve made some mistakes and I’m trying to fix them – but I’m not very good at it. I got off to a very bad start with my husband’s parents. They are very good, but also insecure people – and I am very shy. I never liked talking to them, and mostly avoided them because talking to them made me, a very very shy person, uncomfortable. We had some pretty huge and hurtful misunderstandings. Most of them started with me being socially incompetent and then ballooned into huge issues because of how insecure they feel about themselves as parents. Now I have my own daughter, and things seem to be getting better. My MIL and I actually have things to talk about. It seems like we’re starting to put the past behind us. My problem is, I’m still horribly socially inept. I want to be friends, but still feel like they’re the ‘grown ups’ and I’m the ‘teenager’. I feel like I ought not talk about myself or my interests (Sci-fi, obscure internet memes, writing, history, Christian philosophy, anime and manga, lots of other weird things). My MIL likes quilting and TV dramas. My FIL likes hunting and quirky things from the 70s. I honestly feel completely immature and lost around them. But they’re wonderful people. I just wish I didn’t have these terrible communication barriers. Okay, there was a lot of build up, but here’s the punch line. My actual question: My husband has to work the day of their family Christmas. Normally this would mean I wasn’t going either – but now we have a baby and I wouldn’t want to keep their granddaughter from family Christmas!! I’m going to be alone with them for HOURS! Help!! What do I do? A.
Answer: Dear A.: I think it is admirable that you are willing to go alone. I wouldn’t. You are too different and you are just starting to make progress. Let them know that your husband has to work and that the two of you are going to have to miss the family Christmas…but want to schedule something else for the four of you in the near future. How you feel matters. A lot! Blessings, Luise