Keeping Peace In The Family

I’d like to thank you for all the messages of gladness that I’ve returned! My email is overflowing with questions and this is the one that was at the top of the list this morning. It is not the typical question that I receive, but this might be helpful for other people going through the same thing. 

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,

This Christmas was very rough for me and I need some clarity. I am the only one of my family that is of a different spiritual path.As I am the only one of us that lived close to my dad, my father gave me power of attorney in all of his legal matters, including the person he chose to make his arrangements after he passed. He had been ill for a time and wanted no stress for the family. He did not tell me what he wanted as far as a funeral or celebration of life. I chose to have a simple cemetery ceremony when he passed earlier this year with no church service. This has caused a lot of resentment from my siblings, especially my sister. She confronted me at Christmas and let me know just what she thought about what she calls my evil decision.  I now have guilt wondering if I did the right thing? My Dad was not religious nor was he a churchgoer and I have not held to the tenets of the religion I was born to for many years. How do I deal with this as I want harmony again in our family?-B.W.

Dear B.W.,

First, my condolences on the loss of your dad. 

Second, I believe that you did the best you could. With no instruction and knowing what you did of his religious feelings, a simple ceremony seems to be appropriate. I also feel that your siblings could have done a separate ceremony should they wish. If no one offered, move forward knowing that you did nothing wrong.

Last, I will say that your goal of harmony is a good one.  I suggest that on the first anniversary of your dad’s passing you have a church service or Mass said in his honor? This might help to alleviate this tension. I wish you and your family the best and peace always..

A Very Happy New Year!

Hello, dear readers, 

I’m not going to go into a long explanation as to my absence. I was gone. You noticed. I apologize. 

Now that that is out of the way, let’s move forward in 2023! 

Welcome back to our look at manners and the sundry ways people are annoying! Here is our first question for the New Year.

Dear Lady Hooper Brackett,

Once again my coworkers roped me into the office gifting pool, despite my repeated requests not to! I know, I could have better boundaries, but they made me feel bad. I am a thoughtful gift giver, but the absolute garbage they gave me pisses me off. Most of it is ending up in a donation pile to Goodwill. Am I wrong to feel slighted? Should I say something?

-Expert Gift Giver

Dear Expert Gift Giver,

While you have my sympathies, this is, as they say, how the cookie crumbles. Some people are not good at gift giving. Some people are on a budget and that ‘garbage’ might be the only thing they can afford. It is never in good taste to complain about gifts. 

As an aside, I detest forced gift giving and forced office parties. While it may add somewhat to the joy of the season (or as the case usually is…just gives people time away from their desks during a workday) I find this type of thing tiresome. Genuine friends should exchange gifts, but no one should be forced to participate. 

My only advice is to be gracious, don’t complain, donate the items, and refuse to take part next year and use budget concerns as your excuse. Be strong. 

Best New Year Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Gracefully Declining When Someone Invites Themselves Along

Here’s a situation that I hear about quite a bit, though usually it is a friend or family member inviting themselves along. A coworker needs to be handled delicately.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I have a business acquaintance who continually hints to me that she would like to travel with me one day. Whenever I mention that I am going somewhere she starts with the broad hints. “We should travel together. I also like going to ‘xyz’.” I continue to say nothing and ignore her each time. I would think that she would get the hint that I do not wish to travel with her. She is an extremely high-maintenance individual. Last year our company sent us to St. Louis for a week and while everyone else packed all they needed in carry on bags, she packed a huge checked suitcase along with her two carry ons. She is petulant and has a fit if she doesn’t get her way or things do not go as expected at work. The thought of being trapped in a room or a plane with her makes me cringe. How do I handle her pushiness?

Scared of Offending a Colleague

Dear Scared of Offending a Colleague,

Oh my dear, I offer these thoughts as response to your email.

  1. Do you goad this woman into thinking you would be open to traveling with her?
  2. Why do you continue to share your travel plans with her? Is it to show off?
  3. Have you considered that she is lonely and looking for a friend? I am not dismissing your very valid feelings about traveling with her personally. I obviously know nothing about either of you, but generally difficult people become so from insecurity. Perhaps she wasn’t sure about her wardrobe choices being appropriate which is why she packed so much to take with her on your joint business trip.
  4. Might you ‘day trip’ to local places of interest? This would give you both the opportunity to see a new place without the time or space commitment of being in a hotel room.

The bottom line is be kind. One never knows what struggles another has. And keeping peace at work is an important goal.

Best Peaceful Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

New Year’s Diss: Why Did They Leave at 12:01?

Ahh yes, the disappointment when guests hightail it after the big moment passes! Can you relate?

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I hosted our annual New Year’s party. My husband and I invited about 40 people to celebrate with us and we had the usual food and beverages available. It took a lot of work, preparation, and planning to get things set up. The party started at 7 PM and things seemed to be going well. All of the guests arrived by 830 and we had a lively time. At 1130 we started to watch the festivities in New York and anticipated the ball drop. After much to-do and the countdown and obligatory toast to the New Year…three quarters of my guests decided to leave. The time was 12:01AM! Barely a minute past midnight!!! I am quite offended but am not sure that I should be. My husband says that it was a long evening for everyone and some of our guests needed to work today, but I cannot help but feel that it is rude to up and leave so close to midnight. May I have your thoughts? 

Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation

Dear Ringing,

I understand your pain. I also understand the pain of those who must work or those who a bit of age on them. My mother would often entertain on New Year’s (back in the Dark Ages known as the 80s) and would have a party much as you just described. As most of the people attending the party were older folks (by older I mean in their 70s and 80s) it was often the case that once the ball dropped, the champagne glasses were drained, and New Year kisses were shared, these people had their coats on and were headed for the door! My mother (indeed no one) ever complained because the family had spent an enjoyable evening in their company. I beg you not to feel offended. There was nothing ill-mannered in their behavior. In fact, why not begin the New Year by extending the benefit of the doubt and being happy that you were able to share the end of one year and the start of the next in good company.

Best New Year Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett