Dear Blake,

My mother likes to tell people where to sit at every family gathering. It can be anywhere, including at a restaurant or even at my aunt’s house. It’s annoying and feels disrespectful.

I’m 49, and my girls are in their early 20s. I try to be patient, but she doesn’t consider health conditions or if someone is left-handed.

My older daughter was severely traumatized by a former neighbor and doesn’t do well with strangers. A few years ago, my cousin’s boyfriend came, and my mother ordered my daughter to sit next to him. It was horrible for my daughter. We tried one more time last year at a restaurant, and it was the same. Since then, we have skipped family gatherings. I don’t know why she feels she has to tell us where to sit. Please help.

Signed, Blanche
From Hartford, Connecticut

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

Dear Blanche,

I have never heard of someone doing what your mother is doing. In my opinion, to show how insensitive and idiotic her seating orders are, when she visits you at your home, you should impose comparable ridiculous mandates. Such as… if you have a nice sound system, every time she comes over, blast your music. Opera irritates most people, so play a lot of that, and max out the volume when one of those full-figured women hit those high notes. Designate certain rooms in you home that are non-talking, and those “certain” rooms are any room your mother enters, and speaking is allowed in that room only after she exits it. Tell her the new rules of the house, is that no visitors can remain there more than one hour under any conditions. Let her see you starting a stop watch when she first enters, and as soon as you close the door, try to avoid her for 57 minutes. But if you want to focus specifically on her weird quirk of seating people, then you should seat her at the next family gathering at your home. Assign her a chair, and place it next to the toilet in the bathroom. But make sure she faces way from the toilet, so the users won’t think she’s staring at them while they are in there “relieving” themselves. I hope this helps.