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Dealing Diplomatically With Intrusive Questions/hypocrisy

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by NaiveLady, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. NaiveLady

    NaiveLady New IL'ite

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    I have a polite but formal type of relationship with my co-sister (husband's brother's wife) but given that she is my co-sister, we can't just avoid talking to one another altogether.

    Unfortunately, in spite of us maintaining pleasantries when talking on the phone over the course of my marriage for the past several years, I don't feel very comfortable with her, due to the following:

    * Possible judgments on alcohol - we (my husband, myself, brother-in-law, co-sister and some of their friends) all went to celebrate on New Years' Eve one time, and I saw that my co-sister drank then. I don't care/judge, she is free to do as she wishes, but only mention because I know our parent in-laws wouldn't be happy if they knew (they are traditional). Also, I don't drink; my co-sister asked me (before we went for festivities) if I drink; when I said no, she asked me if I ever did and I honestly told her I tried a small amount in college once/twice due to peer pressure but that's it. She told me she likes sangria. Not sure why she wanted to know about my habits - later, when returning home from festivities, she told me "good you didn't drink". I was thinking, yes, good, not only because of the impact of alcohol, but maybe she would have told on me to our in-laws if I drank, in spite of herself doing so?

    * Religious Functions and Expectations - my co-sister asked me (just one year after my marriage) if I keep navratri golu, even though she herself hasn't been keeping it after many years of her marriage. I started keeping after 2nd or 3rd year of marriage, but it struck me strange that she asked me that in spite of not doing so herself.

    On a separate religious function, she asked me, on her own, if I would be getting my menses during that time (as in saying, please don't attend if that will be the case). Considering that she herself doesn't follow all the traditional rules of our families (e.g. she drinks alcohol sometimes, wears less 'conservative' clothing at times even in front of in-laws, even keeps eggs at home (we are all vegetarians and moreover I avoid egg products too)), not sure why this particular issue was so important to her. I was not happy with her asking me that but kept my cool and just told her that 'I will take care of it' (so it won't be an issue).

    My co-sister also asked me if I light puja lamp daily. I am not sure if she herself does and it is not my business.

    (To be fair, maybe I am also a hypocrite as I don't like or actually believe in avoiding traditional/religious activities during menses though follow it as much as possible when around others. That being said I did voice my opinions and reasoning on this matter to my MIL one time so my in-laws know how I feel about this).

    To sum up, I try not to judge my co-sister for her personal habits/lifestyle but why she needed to ask me all these personal questions is beyond me. She even asked me my weight on another occasion (no, she is not a doctor or in the health profession and I am neither overweight nor underweight so what use is this info to her?). I think a lot of our difference in understanding one another is that she grew up in South India, whereas I grew up in US from the age of 6.

    Our occasional phone conversations are okay, and I enjoy talking with her son too and have no issues with my brother-in-law (her husband), but I am dreading the next time we meet in person. Am I in the wrong? The thing is, not sure how I can (in a nice way) tell her that I would appreciate if she try to accept me for whatever personal habits/beliefs I have (just as I do for her) and if we can just discuss less intrusive topics, such as what we do on weekends, our favorite foods/books/movies/restaurants or any other neutral topic. It would be nice if our relationship can improve but that can't be forced and will take patience and effort on both sides.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  2. Amulet

    Amulet Platinum IL'ite

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    Reading that OP story, I liked that co-sister. She is curious as to how the other woman who's married into the family lives her life. And perhaps even attempts, now and then, to encourage that one to loosen up and have some fun in life.
     
  3. Anusha2917

    Anusha2917 Finest Post Winner

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    Sorry I'm not trying to judge you here . But I feel your co sister is just the "curious one" and she is asking you all this which I feel is normal and nothing different.
    As you said you are brought up in the US I'm not sure if that is the reason you feel these questions are intrusive but those questions from her seem very normal to me.
    Keep a yes / no kind of answers if it makes you uncomfortable. Buy u can always initiate the topics you have mentioned at the end of the post.
     
  4. Sunshine04

    Sunshine04 Platinum IL'ite

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    I think she is intrusive.
    You don't need to be scared of her.
    Next time just greet her with a hi
    Just go about your life. Dont answer any uncomfortable questions from her. Just turn away.
    She will get it
     
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  5. NaiveLady

    NaiveLady New IL'ite

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    Thank you for reading and responding! I agree with you about her being curious, I suppose that's better than showing no interest at all. I have met enough gossipy relatives over the years, though, and so tried to keep my guard around her too in case she is of the gossipy nature too, so that is a main reason why her personal questions about how 'traditionally' I live my lifestyle were so uncomfortable to me (especially if she went back and told our traditional MIL everything I told her). Hope you are right about her encouraging to loosen up and enjoy life, though. Thank you again!
     
  6. NaiveLady

    NaiveLady New IL'ite

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    Thank you for reading and responding! Yes, you are right, my having been brought up in US (in a family that raised my sister and I to appreciate our family background and encouraged us to keep up with our religious and cultural values, but also gave us independence and did not force anything on us) does have to do with my feeling these questions are intrusive. In particular, here in the US, generally asking people (even known to the asker) about their weight is considered a very nosy and private/personal/intrusive question. I agree, going forward, I'll just keep answers short and simple with yes/no if I don't wish to provide details, or better yet, try to come up with a joking answer (though my co-sister is a serious type of person). Yes, I can also initiate more neutral topics or just change the subject altogether if I feel uncomfortable. Thank you again.
     
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  7. NaiveLady

    NaiveLady New IL'ite

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    Thank you for reading and responding! While I agree with you about her (questions) being intrusive, I guess these questions from her are normal as mentioned by the others who responded. Yes, will continue to be polite and maintain pleasantries and just try to have a regular conversation with hi/hello with her. I appreciate the reassurance, will try to be less paranoid/scared of her, after all she isn't a mean person. Will try to change subject whenever dealing with any uncomfortable/intrusive questions from her going forward. Thank you again!
     
  8. Sunshine04

    Sunshine04 Platinum IL'ite

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    Do your in laws favor you over her. Maybe she is just jealous since you are from USA
     
  9. Sangeeta85

    Sangeeta85 Gold IL'ite

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    She is just asking u do u do lit the lamp . Indians so we ask .. it’s just to know u better u think she is asking.. if those questions r not comfortable for u just change the topic
     
  10. NaiveLady

    NaiveLady New IL'ite

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    That is a good question, my mother suggested the same possibility when I told her about my struggles to understanding where my co-sister is coming from with the described types of questions. I hope to never open that can of worms with her or my in-laws. That being said, I very highly doubt they favor me over her (though I suppose it is possible that she may think so in her mind, no idea on that); here are some things she has going for her (and no, I am not jealous of her):

    * grew up in South India, in the same city that my in-laws are originally from; her parents still live there. As a result, she is well versed with the family traditions as they are commonly done over there, local practices, how people communicate with one another, and is obviously fluent in our family mother tongue. This, in the eyes of my in-laws (especially my traditional and orthodox MIL), is what I am thinking is a huge plus for her.

    * enjoys cooking and discussing about food/recipes with our MIL (I know because I have heard them discuss this a few times) - we actually have this in common except I usually don't find myself talking about food with either her or my MIL, ironically

    * got married in her mid-20s and now has a beautiful 4-year-old son, whereas I got married at the age of 30 (after one failed/annulled marriage from before, long story) and do not have any kids yet

    * is living in a nice house that can comfortably accommodate multiple families.

    * has a social circle consisting entirely (or almost entirely) of Indian people - I am basing this off of whom all attended her baby shower (it was a large event and lots of people outside of family were invited as well). As such, there are many people with whom my in-laws have felt comfortable socializing with when visiting my brother-in-law and co-sister.

    * probably visits India every year as not only her in-laws but her parents are also there, in the same city too.
     
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