Should I try to mend my sisters' relationship?

I am the youngest of six siblings, and over the last five years or so, my three oldest siblings have all passed away, leaving my two older sisters and me. One lives out west; one lives a couple of hours from me by car.

We’ve always (well, maybe not always – we did torment one another as kids) been close. For the past 10 years or so, we’ve gotten together for a “sisters only weekend” and always have had a blast.

Something happened between my sisters last summer after my brother died. I think it was more cumulative than any particular thing, although the proverbial straw seems to have been my nearby sister backing out of plans to fly out west to spend the holidays with my other sister (because of the cost), then doing something else that was perceived as a frivolous (or at least ill-thought-out) expenditure.

There were hurt feelings on both sides and a degree of stubbornness regarding who should apologize to whom. We used to do three-way calling regularly, but we haven’t for quite some time. They haven’t been talking to each other on the phone, although if there is three-way e-mail going on, they do address each other that way.

This is all to say that, as far as rifts go, this could be worse. I’ve talked to each of them individually about the other, so they know I know they feel.

Anyhoo, I’ve invited my out-west sister and her husband to my house for Thanksgiving, and they are planning to come. I’d like to invite my other sister and her husband, too.

Part of me just wants to e-mail them both and say, “Look, I understand the hurt feelings on both sides, but the time has come to set them aside. We are all we have now, and it makes me very sad to have this tension among us.”

And part of me just wants to send an e-mail to my nearby sister (and copy my other sister) and say, “Hey, I’ve invited Sister and Hubby for Thanksgiving and I want you guys to come, too,” and leave the “Please make up with each other” part out. I guess I’m a little afraid of it turning into, “Well, if SHE’S coming then I’M not coming!” I don’t think that will happen, but…you never know.

I’ve also thought about e-mailing each of them individually saying, “Please come and I’ve invited Other Sister, too” and add the part about understanding the hurt feelings, etc.

What would you do?

I understand your desire to see your sisters’ relationship with each other improved, but you need to stay realistic about what you can and can’t influence.

I quite like the sentiment here. Maybe rewording it slightly…

“I understand the hurt feelings on both sides, but I’d really like to see the two of you set them aside and move on.We are all we have now, and it makes me very sad to have this tension among us. I’m thinking about inviting you both for Thanksgiving this year, how would you feel about that?”

I agree; it’s great that you want to see them reconcile, but I imagine a “it’s time to grow up” implication (though it was slight) might get one or both of their defensive hackles up, and sandra’s correction makes your request seem more like a favor rather than a demand, based on emotions and your perceptions more than on hard and fast family rules.

If you can help bring about peace, you should try to.

If it doesn’t happen – you gotta let it go.
When’s your birthday? Ask them to bury the hatchet as your gift. (This worked for a friend of my mom’s, srsly.)

I think I like that part of you better.:slight_smile:

I’ve watched various family members break up and make up for decades now. I’ve also seen the one caught in the middle get hammered by both sides for trying to intervene. The best you can do is give them both an oppotunity to make up with each other, but not push them toward it. The one who’s “less ready” will probably blame you for pushing her. The one who’s “more ready” will probably resent you for trying to manipulate her into a position where she’s supposed to cave.

There is a big rift between my sisters right now. I am cool with all of them. No fucking way am I getting involved in their issues with one another.

No easy answers. I too am currently having a sister issue. I’m sad that we aren’t close.

I would try to fix things, probably. I always want to fix things. But it could fail or even backfire.

I wish life came with an instruction manual. Good luck.

Have a happy Thanksgiving – all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving.

OP, My sister and I are making progress, I think. We’re talking. It’s only through e-mail, but it’s a start. So, I’m not sure if your situation has changed, but there is hope.

Every family is different and this advice comes too late for you Thanksgiving this year, but my own family is full of internal strife and it’s always so much work to try to get people together for holidays, oftentimes for naught.

That said, just yesterday we were able to get two of my three siblings and their families together with my family and parents. Predictions of friction were unfounded and we had a great time.

It did take a few gently worded emails and phone calls to get everyone together, but it was so worth it.

My one sibling and her family refused to attend even after my father offered to pay 100% of their airfare, but perhaps they may come for Christmas.

As many of us are reaching an age where the likelihood of parents or siblings dying in the short run is seemingly palpable, IMHO it is so important for close family to put their past (oftentimes petty) differences aside while we can still get together.

Thirding the wording of **sandra_nz. ** My uncle is the peacekeeper for his three sisters. Sis 1 and sis 2 have not been talking to my mom, sis 3. With good reason, my mom (sis 3) is the difficult one. My uncle does what sandra_nz says between sis 1 and 2 whenever they get irritated with another, and that works fine. It works even better because he visits us in Europe from the States and visits all his sisters right after another, so there is very natural contact going on along the lines of “Hey, when shall I pick up bro at your place?”“then and then, and while you are here stay for dinner”
However, he has given up reconciling my mom with sisters 1 and 2. Instead, the contact now goes through me, as a sort of representative of my mom. I visit my aunts occasionally and relay news from my mom, as does my uncle.