DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently reconnected with my cousins. We hadn't talked to each other much for years. We live in different towns, and our lives are very different. We saw each other at a family funeral and realized how much we like each other, so we've been talking on the phone, and it has been so nice.
I thought that maybe we should plan to get together once a year or so. When I mentioned this to one of my cousins, I got some pushback. She said it was a nice idea and all, but she wasn't sure what her responsibilities will be over time, and she didn't want to make that kind of commitment. This hurt my feelings, but I get it. Going from zero to a promise of once a year could be ambitious. I don't want to give up, though. What can I do to let her know I want to stay close without being overbearing? -- Missing My Cousins, Philadelphia
DEAR MISSING MY COUSINS: First, give yourself credit for making the effort to kindle a meaningful relationship with your cousins. Your cousin probably did not mean to be hurtful to you. She sounds practical. What is realistic for you to do? Continue with regular phone calls, emails and texts. Share photos and highlights of your life, and encourage your cousins to do the same.
Build a rapport with them at a manageable pace. Find a rhythm. When it feels right or circumstances make it possible, schedule a visit.