Is this person being reasonable?

Background information: One of my sisters emigrated to Australia in 1968. I was eight years old at the time. In the intervening years I’ve gone to visit her once and she’s come to visit us three times. We keep in touch at Christmas, and occasionally at other times. I have four other siblings who all keep in touch with her on the same basis. They live too far away to visit me much, and we keep in touch mostly by email once every week or two. Despite that we are all very close – we just don’t feel that it matters if a week or two passes by without getting in touch.

Today I had the following conversation:

Person: Have you spoken to your sister in Australia today?
Me: No… I wouldn’t normally expect to.
P: I don’t mean on the telephone, I meant by email.
Me: No. It’s a couple of weeks since I was in contact.
P: Don’t you email her every day?
Me: No.
P: Why not?
Me: Well, out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.
P: Don’t you care about her?
Me (getting a bit annoyed): Of course I do! We just don’t feel the need to live in each other’s pockets.
P: Don’t you think that’s sad?
Me: No. We don’t need that sort of constant contact.

Is this person being reasonable? She made me feel like a heartless toad. My attitude is that you’re bound to grow apart a little in 40 years.

I have a sister who I feel I’m “close” with. She lives 25 miles from me; we spend holidays together, go on vacation together, etc.

I will often go a month or two at a time without talking to her, though rarely more than a few weeks without swapping an email or two.

We’re both busy adults.

So – yes, that person is unreasonable.

Heavens, my sister lives just a few miles from me and I don’t speak to her every day! I certainly wouldn’t say you’re a ‘heartless toad’. I think it was rather rude of her to speak to you in that manner.

It would have been funny if you’d said something like “Well I think it’s sad when people don’t have a life of their own and must pester their families”. :stuck_out_tongue:

That being said, however, there are families who are in constant contact. My husband’s sister and mom, for example, communicate often throughout the day. What is considered “reasonable” varies from family to family.

And, some people within the family prefer a greater frequency of contact. My aforementioned sister will get grumpy and ask for “some emails” from the rest of us if she doesn’t get a couple each week. Personally, I tend to forget to keep up (get focused on work etc.) and must be prodded.

Yours is the normal mode. P is the weird mode, but you see it sometimes in some extended families that need/like to huddle with each other constantly. If I had to email my blood relatives every day or even every few days I’d go batshit.

There’s a level of neediness in that constant contact requirement some people require that’s a bit disturbing.

If you say that you all are close, I’ll take your word for it. People have busy lives - it isn’t unusual for family members to go a long time without speaking. If everything is fine between you guys and you enjoy each other’s company, then don’t listen to Ms. Unnecessarily Nosy.
Think of it this way: maybe she’s got a sister she talks to every day, but that doesn’t mean they’re closer than you are with your sister. You don’t need constant contact, as you said. Whatever works for you guys is fine, IMO.

Well, she didn’t actually call me a heartless toad… but that was definitely the implication. She also had a go at me because I was not long-winded enough in talking to her. She’s one of these people who can prattle on endlessly about nothing in particular - and I just can’t do that. I tend to use few words in conversation, that is, I say what I want to say and then shut up, and she interpreted this as meaning I didn’t enjoy her company. Well, by now I didn’t, but it wasn’t really my fault.

Anyway, I’ll probably laugh it off tomorrow. It just annoyed me at the time.

I read an autobiography on Laura Ingalls Wilder a few years back. They told about the pioneers like Charles and Caroline Ingalls, who got married and then decided to go west. They traveled via horse and wagon, of course, because trains didn’t go where they were headed, so it took months, even years to get where they were going. Very few people who left ever came back. When the Ingalls left their home, they knew that it in all likelihood it would be the last time they’d see their parents and siblings. Ever.

THAT strikes me as unbelievably sad. I can’t even imagine the buckets of tears I’d cry saying goodbye to my mom and dad and siblings that last morning before hauling my butt up into a wagon filled with all my earthly belongings and heading off to a place unknown.

The OPer’s scenario is an entirely different matter. Sis emigrated to another country, but we live in the Communication Age. We’ve got telephones, mail, email, not to mention affordable airfares, to keep us connected. P is being overly dramatic.

In my experience, yes it’s an unreasonable attitude. I can’t think of anything more dull than a daily catch-up with my brother and sister (both of whom I get on with very well). I don’t need to know the detailed minutiae of their lives and I’m sure they feel the same way about mine.

I’m from a family that must be similar to P. I talk on the phone to my mom almost every day. . . usually just for a few minutes, but occasionally for longer. I don’t feel some pathological need to do so, but I enjoy talking to her and she enjoys talking to me. We usually just give each other a quick update and then say goodbye. When I first married I remember being stunned that my husband would go for a week or two at a time without calling his family; he was amazed and annoyed that we wanted to talk every day.

I don’t think that one way is really any better than the other. Just differences in family dynamic. (But I’m sorry your friend made you feel bad.)

Tell “P” to piss off and mind their own godammned business

If you and your sister feel comfortable with this level of contact, then good for you

I don’t feel it is needful to email people I care about every day. Or even every week.


I have a close friend. He and I go years without connecting with each other. When we do, after 10 minutes it’s like we spent every day together.

That person was not only unreasonable, they were rude–I mean come on, you don’t ask someone, “Don’t you care about your sister?!” in a casual conversation like that.

I talk to my parents and brother all the time–far more often than lots of other people I know talk to their families–and even I don’t usually contact them every day. I could see exchanging a few words daily if you’re both using IM clients regularly, but emails and phone calls are a pretty significant time investment. I mean, geez, where would that person draw the line at people to email or call every day? Immediate family? My friend has 6 brothers and sisters of varying ages and varying schedules. He’d never get anything done. Grandparents? Aunts/Uncles? Cousins? I care about mine, and they live a lot closer than Australia, and I don’t talk to them every day.

Unreasonable. Let me guess, this person has 30 cats in a studio apartment. :rolleyes:

Side question: How can I ship my sister off to Australia?

My sister lives 12 miles from my house; we see each other maybe once every two to three months; we do a lot of email and a few phone calls, though.

Unreasonable, and rude to boot.

I love my brother and all, but we usually go a month or so between emails, and a few months between visits. (He lives about three hours away.) I know that my mother thinks we should be in contact more, but we just don’t have enough to talk about to do it weekly, much less daily.

Even my mother-in-law, who is from a close knit country family and lives less than half a mile down the road from her sister, doesn’t talk to her daily. Or to her parents, who live a half mile past that.

Unreasonable and rude. But maybe she has some stuff going on with her own family that she is projecting onto yours? Perhaps she is the one whose emails and phone calls go unanswered.

Agree with both. My sister and I are very close and live maybe 5 miles apart. We have breakast together every Sunday morning with a larger group. If it weren’t for that we’d see each other maybe once a month.

Every family sets its own parameters on stuff like this. I think you and sis are just fine. I’d be the same (although I wish I had a sister in Oz–I’d go visit!).
I have a coworker who goes out to eat with her extended family twice a week: Tuesdays and Saturdays. She and her husband, their kids(teens), her parents, her sister and her family. Tuesdays it’s her parents; Saturdays it’s his parents and his brother etc.
It would drive me insane. I seriously could not do it. But, like you, I have almost no interest in the minutiae of life. Water cooler at work was out of water? Amazing! And you meant to add walnuts to the muffins, but decided not to? Please, tell me more… that sort of stuff bores me stiff. YMMV.

Unreasonable-just because you’re family doesn’t necessarily make you close. My Uncle Mike and my mother rarely talk much. I’d have told P to piss off.