Dear Blake,

My husband and I went on a trip with his brother and his wife recently. Three days into the trip, while we were having dinner at a restaurant, my sister-in-law yelled at me, “Shut up! You talk too much!” I was stunned. Then my husband said, “I agree with her.” Words cannot express how surprised and hurt I felt. I do sometimes talk a lot when I’m excited, but no one has ever said this to me, certainly not my husband. The next day I felt very angry, especially at my husband for siding with her against me in public. I asked him to please tell me when we are alone if he has a problem with something I said or did, rather than embarrass me. I feel betrayed and angry. What should I do?

Signed, Steffi

From Louisville, Kentucky

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Dear Steffi,

You are understandably hurt after your sister-in-law told you to “shut up” in public. At that time, the proper thing for you to do is limit your speaking at the table… after throwing a plate of food in her face, assuming you weren’t paying for the meal. But I have to be objective, so I also must consider her side. Do you ramble on and on about subjects that no one cares about? If it’s not the topics, do you have a very whiny nasally voice that sounds so irritating, that people would rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard or even getting a back massage with a cheese grater? Can it be that your husband and sister-in-law don’t think you’re an intelligent person, and they’re tired of you displaying your ever-increasing ignorance when you interject an idiotic comment in one of their conversations? But I think the most likely thing is, you probably are one of those people that have extreme difficulty in getting to the point when you speak, and you lack the ability to make a long story, short. One other thing. The letter you wrote to me had a lot of information that I didn’t need, and at least 50% was totally unnecessary. Based on that, I’m really surprised that only two people that night told you to shut up, when I have no doubt others who felt the same way included the waiter, people sitting at tables nearby, and the chefs in the kitchen. I hope this helps.


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