21 Feb
Is Bridge Building Worth It?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

There is a big family rift here. I am the only person speaking to all parties and being ragged by each for keeping in contact with the other.  Is it worth it?


Bridge Builder


Dear Builder,

I’m going to assume for a moment that the people in question aren’t your husband and toddler, but rather grown ass adults.  And  I will further assume that the reason that you are speaking to all the parties is that you want to help and not for purposes of gathering juicy gossip to use against them later.  If that is correct, I’m going to let you in on a secret about those people ragging on  you:  They are trying to bully you into taking their side against their family member enemy.

You have some choices, most of which involve some lightweight lying to everyone concerned that you have, indeed, stopped talking to the offending party and have been plotting their demise.  Or you could tell them to butt out and mind their own business. Because you are an adult and can manage your own relationships.  If they continue to make comments to you regarding your being in touch with Uncle Joe, simply say “I prefer not to discuss Uncle Joe with you.  Nor do I discuss you with Uncle Joe.”  And then live by that.  Maintain your relationship with the people that matter to you, but don’t try to reconcile them.

If the rift is going to heal, it’s going to have to come from the people who caused it.  Leave the bridge building to the engineers.

Good luck,


11 Responses to “Is Bridge Building Worth It?”


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I totally agree with the “I prefer not to discuss Uncle Joe with you. Nor do I discuss you with Uncle Joe” approach.

Just say to the person who’s nagging you at the moment that you build relationships based on people’s behaviour to YOU and not on other people’s dissing, and would they like you to drop them on the basis of the oters’ opinion.

Bridge building is worth while, but you are not the one who ought to do it: the quarrelling parties have to do it. You can only advise them to build bridges, nothing more.

But nobody has the right of bullying you into taking their side.

Good luck. 🙂


Comment by hokgardner.

Excellent, excellent advice.


Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

Amen! Well said.


Comment by Bean.

“And if you continue to harp on this, my relationship with you will be over.”

There is no room for bullying or adolescent behavior from adults in my world.


Comment by Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up).

After reading such a sage answer, i now realize that my previous 51 years of advice has been meaningless. I bow to your superiority…at least right this minute.


Comment by Wendi.

Wow. Marinka. I’m very impressed by this advice today.

Now I have to take back all of the nasty things I said about you to Uncle Joe.


Comment by Alexandra.

Holy Cow, and whoever said Marinka was just a one trick pony.

I do believe that this depression lite state she’s in has resulted in superior brain growth.

WOW. What an answer.


Comment by Bejewell.

Seriously, I just had to write off my toddler for good because of this kind of emotional bullying.

Steph Reply:

you are so clever to write off your manipulative toddler now before it is too late. or is it too late do so with my (omigod so trying, but much loved) 13-year old?
p.s. Marinka, your advice is, as my British friends say, “spot on”


Comment by dusty earth mother.

“Superb advice, Marinka.”

–Uncle Joe


Comment by N and Em's mom.

Tell your family that Uncle Joe is now off limits; you would prefer to debate abortion, capitol punishment, gun control or universal healthcare. Maybe if this isn’t unpleasant enough you could get help writing your eulogy, invite them to your next root canal, or schedule a day together at the podiatrist getting your bunions scraped.

Consider Checking Out...