DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, my sister mailed me a long letter detailing her resentment for me and our lack of closeness. She said she wanted to have a relationship. After reading it, I reached out to her and thanked her for her openness. I agreed that I, too, would like to be closer.
I am eight years older than she is, and we live in different states. Growing up, our mother didn't take time to foster our relationship. I'm now married and have a baby. She's going her way, too, beginning a new career.
Lately our relationship has become one-sided. I'm almost always the one to initiate a phone call or message, and when I do, she doesn't always respond. When we talk, I ask her about herself, and that seems to be the focus of conversation. Or we talk about my baby.
Our relationship doesn't feel genuine to me. I feel obligated to call her, but she doesn't reciprocate. Must I keep this up because we're family, or should I tell her how I feel in the hope that our relationship could become a two-way street? She's sensitive, and I'm worried that if I bring it up it will make things worse. -- STRUGGLING SISTER IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR STRUGGLING SISTER: It's all right to tell your sister that when she doesn't respond to your calls or messages, it's hurtful. But rather than say you feel the relationship has become one-sided, which could be interpreted as a criticism of her, explain that you realize both of you are busy people. Then suggest the two of you agree to schedule a call every month or so to catch up. If she truly wants the relationship she requested, it shouldn't be too much of a burden for her.