This week’s query is from The Love of Pete. But don’t be fooled by the “Pete” part. There’s no way this was written by a man. Oy!
The Love of Pete writes:
“Gilda Sue, my brother needs me to help him with his marriage, but I’m too busy with my own marriage and my kids to help. How do I tell him to stop drinking and get a damn job already without hurting his feelings?!”
Hon, though the truth can be real-real hurtful, sometimes we just need to say it. “The truth shall set them free,” as Lynyrd Skynyrd says.
There’s an old adage that tells us, “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” But my bobeshi taught me that that is for suckers. She always told me, “if you can’t say what you mean and mean what you say, then don’t say anything at all.”
And Pete, here’s something that only you (and maybe Sherlock Holmes, or even Dr. Phil) can ever know for sure, but it’s worth investigating: Is it possible that your concern over hurting your brother’s feelings is just a disguise for your fear of being vilified by him, or being disliked? Being disliked isn’t as bad as you might think, by the way. I find it’s often way better than the alternative, especially if that alternative involves keeping my mouth shut (as you might well imagine). And, anyway, to quote another great Skynyrd tune, you might ask that schmendrik brother of yours, “what have you done for me lately?”
Now, shouldn’t you be changing a diaper, Sherlock Holmes-ing what the heck your family wants for supper, or Dr. Phil-ing the corn out of someone’s nose? Pour yourself a double tall Drambuie-tini (light on the vermouth, heavy on the tini). Block/hide that brother on your facebook. Then text him to stop drinking and get a damn job, already.