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Manners Matter: Chatty Sister-in-Law

Dear Mary Pat,

I’m in a bind. My sister-in-law wants to join the book club I attend. She’s a great gal, but she dominates any conversation she participates in. No matter the topic – politics, marriage, shoes – she has an opinion and goes off on 10-minute tirades that leave the rest of the group staring at the ceiling or making an excuse to leave the conversation. I’m not sure I want to subject my book club to her, yet I don’t want to leave her out. How do I handle this?

Signed,

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Sister Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Between a Rock and a Hard Place,

There are many book clubs in the area, and they all have different ways of doing things. For example, some groups choose a book but use the discussion time as a chance to catch up with each other versus actually going over the book. Others are more disciplined and discuss the book in detail, allowing everyone enough time to talk. The book club that I’m in limits the size so that we don’t become so big that it becomes a circus.

I think you need to bring this up with the rest of your club. You can tell them about your sister-in-law (while still being nice and respectful about her) and let the group decide. If they decide to include her, just remember that you are not responsible for her behavior. If she talks too long or gets too brash with her opinions, I’m sure your friends can handle it, and they can also address it if necessary.

Good luck,

Mary Pat