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AdviceHey, Bonita!

Was I Exploited for Christmas?

Happy New Year, and welcome to COVID season 3! I know that the best of us tried as hard as we could to minimize this mess, but here we are, still masking and distancing as Omicron descends on our town. Well, at least it’s not football season.

Hey, Bonita!

I’m trying to figure out if I’m justified in having some post-Christmas angst regarding one of my two siblings. There had been some weird COVID-related disagreements with her in the days leading up to Christmas—I wanted all of us to get tested before Christmas as a precaution, and the rest of my family is not cautious about COVID whatsoever. I’m having a hard time separating that debacle enough to distinguish if this situation actually warrants me being upset, or if it’s largely because I’m generally over her.

So, Sister 1 asked me to split the cost of a Nintendo Switch with her as a gift for our other sister (her twin Sister 2). For context, I’m in school and am supported by my wonderful boyfriend, who kindly agreed to foot the bill for half of the Switch. Sister 1 then asked if he could buy Sister 2 a particular game to go along with the Switch as his gift to 2, which we agreed to do. In hindsight, I should have said no, because they are all aware that he supports me, so it would be understandable for us to just give her one gift from both of us.

Ultimately, we ended up spending over $200 for just Sister 2’s gift at the urging of Sister 1, which is a lot for us since we’re both living on one income. Additionally, I guess Sister 1 had already told Sister 2 that she was getting a Switch. It’s a long, pointless story as to why, but Sister 1 actually gave Sister 2 half of the gift without us being there (weeks before Christmas) for no reason other than her own convenience. FINALLY, though, we got to Christmas, and Sister 2 seemed pleased about getting the Switch and the game we got her (although she didn’t say thank you)… but I noticed something a little odd—Sister 1 didn’t get me or my boyfriend anything for Christmas. I certainly wasn’t expecting anything close to the gift we got for Sister 2 (something like a book would have been awesome), but it’s now a few days after Christmas, and I’m still pissed that we got completely ignored after months of her hyping up getting this gift for our other sister. I feel kind of taken advantage of and disrespected, but is that an overreaction?

Thanks for your help, Bonita!

Anon

Hey Anon,

Nah, dude, your reaction is fully warranted. Sister 1’s actions come across as selfish, demanding and inconsiderate to me. It’s easier to be lousy to siblings than one would be to a friend or even a random stranger, though, which sucks when that manifests as entitlement towards resources that she knows are finite for you and your boyfriend. You’d be right to confront her about how that felt for you, and you’d be right to express any expectations that you have for mutual respect, support and consideration. Squeezing $200 out of you for presents while not even getting you a Christmas gift in return feels more than inconsiderate to me, almost vindictive in a way. You’re right to side-eye that behavior.  

She’s family, so of course I don’t recommend torpedoing your relationship with any “my way or the highway” talk, but remember that you have free will at the end of the day. You have every right to say no to any demand from any person in your life. You have the right to expect lifelong relationships to evolve and mature beyond petty jibes and crude contrarianism. 

Once when I was 12, a friend pissed me off, so I soaked some casino tokens in an open sewage cesspit and slipped them into the cracks of his locker so that when he picked them up, he’d be touching human dookie. I’m still friends with that person today, and I’d definitely just talk to him before ever dealing with a disagreement like that again. Adult relationships command respect from everyone involved.

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