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by Abigail Van Buren

Significant Others Are Not Welcome at Siblings' Get-Togethers

DEAR ABBY: My siblings and I have always enjoyed spending quality time together, and every eight to 10 weeks or so we get together for "Siblings Day." There's no set schedule or particular date; one of us will call the others and say, "I need some siblings time." (There are five of us, all over 60.) Sometimes we meet at one of our homes and play board games or cards, or dance in the living room and enjoy the laughter that comes with it. It's a time when we just enjoy being family.

Our brother's lady friend, a very nice person, has arrived, uninvited, the last three times we have gotten together. Talk about a party-pooper. We have explained, as graciously as we know how, that these times are very important to us. Our brother has asked her to please allow us this time for family, but she just laughs and says it's silly for grown people to be so needy of each other. (She has six siblings who live close by and with whom she keeps in contact.)

We all love each other and are aware that life is truly short and that we are very lucky to still have this close bond when so many families do not. Can you suggest what we can do to make her understand what this time together means to us and that she is the ultimate uninvited guest? -- JUST THE SIBS IN LOUISIANA

DEAR SIBS: What gall! Your brother's girlfriend does not have the right to judge your family spending time with one another as "silly." It's the height of rudeness. Please point out to him that her behavior is an important red flag for him to consider. The next time she drops by uninvited, your brother should put his foot down and not let her intrude.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Etiquette & Ethics