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by Abigail Van Buren

Sister Continues To Distance Herself After Moving Away

DEAR ABBY: My older sister, "Olive," moved to the West Coast three years ago. My parents, my two older siblings and I live on the East Coast. During this past year, Olive has grown more and more distant from us. She always has an excuse when we try to set up a group Facetime or even a phone call. This has happened dozens of times now.

Most recently, our extended family set up a Zoom call with about 30 of us. Everyone was able to make at least a portion of it, including all my cousins and aunts and uncles. Olive, however, said she will "be there next time" because she needed to do some mulching around her house and wanted to start limiting her screen time.

My parents, siblings and I have each talked with her directly about how blowing us off is hurtful and painful, yet she continues to do it. At this point, everyone is fed up, especially Mom, who got hung up on twice while trying to address these problems with Olive. What else can we do? We cannot seem to get through. -- FED-UP BROTHER

DEAR BROTHER: Do you know why your sister moved to the West Coast? Was it job-related, or could it have been that she needed space and didn't feel she could have it if she lived geographically closer? Because her withdrawal has become increasingly overt over the past year, it's important that someone understand what is driving it.

A relative other than your mother (who got hung up on twice) who is close to Olive should give her a call and, in as gentle a manner as possible, explain the family is worried about her and ask if anything is wrong that any of you can help with. She may be having a difficult time emotionally, or she may simply be craving some space. But you won't know until someone can get a straight answer.

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