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dealing with chatty family members

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June 4th, 2009, 03:57 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24
Since I immigrated to USA a year ago, I have an aunt (mothers sister) here in D.C who calls constantly every day just to chat, which I dont have the time or energy for - my life is way too hectic with husband, work etc. I have a really tough time saying no and its tearing me up inside after I wrote this firm e-mail to her below in reply to her e-mail saying that she called but did not reach my voicemail. Of course I disabled voicemail and have been ignoring her calls but she did not know. Do you think this e-mail okay to send or over the top? Should it be lighter or perhaps not so direct? Please help. I dont want to hurt her feelings or make myself appear like the bad person.


Dear ( Aunt)

Sorry I missed your call. I hope that all is well with you and your health.

Your upcoming trip sounds very exciting...how I envy you - I am drowning with work right now, even over the weekends.

I tend to get back home late these days as I'm busy with a consulting project which came up and I have to study which requires intense concentration and massive chunks of time. Then I have the home and husband to take care of apart from the other 101 things that I still have pending and that comes up in our lives every week, so spare time seems like a luxury nowadays.

I do have voicemail on my cell phone but you did not leave a message. There just isn't voicemail on the home phone - we barely get to use this phone - we know if it is something important, people will reach us by cell and leave a message, e-mail, text, facebook or we will meet them face to face. I know it's frustrating - I never seem to have time for frequent or lengthy chat on the phone as my life is quite crazy busy. Added to that, the setup at home is not conducive to frequent/lengthy chats.....as mentioned, I often have to leave and go outside to talk or stand in the kitchen which is most often not convenient for me...plus (my husband) loves his sleep.....or we are generally out or busy etc. so we barely get to use the home phone and will be disconnecting as it was just there to help out during my pregnancy. We only take calls when we are in a position to talk nowadays. The obligations of being married (as well as working and studying for now) leaves a lot less time and energy than when I was single and as my dad used to say, my husband comes first, even before him!

Also, as I have also explained to you in a previous e-mail and on the phone before - I'm not really a phone person and I can't handle a lot of phone time mentally just to chit chat. It makes me anxious and stressed. My mind can only process X amount of stimuli in a given day/week/month and if I don't sift out what I can/ can't or wan't/don't want to do, I drive myself crazy. If I responded to every call that came my way, many days I would get nothing else done. So some things just have to slide. It's nothing personal.

I will call you in July to catch up, but if you need to talk for any reason before that (e.g update on your health situation, having a bad day, a problem that arose, of course emergencies etc), I am always there. I will drop whatever else I am doing if family needs me, so don't hesitate to call if the need arises......its's just the regular 'chit chat' that is difficult to sustain in our situation.

Anyway, I will say goodbye for now - I have a massive backlog of e-mail which I have to reply to and clear over the next few days and then get back to studying.

Have a wonderful holiday next weekend

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June 5th, 2009, 01:01 AM
Alchemist's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,243
hmmmmmm. this is hard. I know from similar experiences, family members can be quite sensitive. I would try shorten it and get to the point. i would also soften it by saying how much it means to have family in the same country etc etc, but that you are finding it hard to find your feet and need some time to adjust. ask her if she would mind handling communications via email for now while you get your head around the changes. ask her straight out, not by justifying your situation (i find it better to be to the point).....

hope this makes sense.... :-)
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June 5th, 2009, 07:10 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24
Thanks Alchemist, that was really useful advice.....so well put. I appreciate your help on this.
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June 7th, 2009, 12:11 PM
in_mommy's Avatar I am just me
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14,873
Were you able to come up with a good email to send? I think Alchemist's advice was good! It did need to be a bit shorter and a little more direct. Also, like she said to include how much you value and love your family. Good Luck!!
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