My younger brother is graduating college this spring. His college is halfway across the country from me, and graduation falls on a holiday weekend. I looked up travel options this weekend:
- ~$1000 for flight, hotel, and rental car
- ~$300-400 for hotel and gas, and spend 24+ hrs driving there and back (holiday traffic!)
That's a lot for me, although not impossible.
My brother and I are not close and I have no idea how important it is to him that I attend in person. (Technically he hasn't even told me when his graduation is - I looked it up online - so maybe not that much, but I don't want to assume.)
Another complicating factor is that I'm sure my estranged sister will be there, and for multiple reasons I will be very uncomfortable seeing her. On a couple of occasions in the past my family has gotten upset at me for being uncomfortable. E.g. before complete estrangement but after things had gotten bad, my family visited my area to help my sister move; I was told if I was "going to be awkward, don't come". I'm not sure if my brother would feel similarly and prefer I don't go and ruin the happy family get-together.
On the other hand, what if he is offended that I'm even considering skipping it? All my siblings went to my college graduation.. of course, they all lived with my parents within an hour drive at the time.. (and personally I wouldn't have cared that much if someone didn't make it, but I know that's not always the case.) Again, in the past I've been surprised by a family member's reaction when I mentioned possibly not going to some event that I (mistakenly) thought wasn't a big deal.
If it is all the same to him I'd much rather just watch the livestream, send a card, and save my money / time / mental health. But if it is important to him and he does want me there, I will go. I just don't know how to figure out how he feels about it, without hurting his feelings if it is a big deal to him.
How do I ask if he wants me to attend without offending?