by Joy Loverde
It’s so subtle you may not even realize that it’s happening.
A sister asks, “So how’s Mom doing?” A brother asks, “How is Aunt Betty feeling lately?” A son asks, “When is Dad’s hip surgery?” A mother asks, “Is your daughter enjoying her new job?” And before you know it… you are put in the position of what I call, “middleman.”
Think about it. The more you allow others to make you the spokesperson for your family member’s comings and goings, the less work they have to do to stay in touch with others. You have no idea of how much time and energy this is costing YOU. Besides, speaking in someone else’s behalf may not be in your best interest – especially when you get the facts wrong.
You are not anyone’s messenger. You are not a middleman. You have enough on your plate and adding the process of talking about things that are not directly related to you is mind and body draining.
Stop the madness. Start training parents and siblings to talk with each other directly. Here is an example of what you can say:
Sister: “How’s Dad feeling?”
You: “I really can’t answer for Dad. Why don’t you ask him yourself and give him a call?”
Mom: “I haven’t heard from Bonnie lately. Is she okay?
You: “That’s a great question, Mom. Why don’t you give her a call?”
You are not in charge of family members’ relationships. That’s not a role you need to take on. The more that people speak directly with each other, the better it is for you.