I've noticed over time that my sister-in-law is very focused on appearances and how everyone looks. I find this to be a very unpleasant/shallow personality trait. In general, I don't really like her and we have personality clashes but this is one concrete thing I don't like.

She has very strong negative emotional reactions to an external visual stimulus such as colours not matching on people's outfits, household decor, vehicles, etc. On the other hand, if she finds something pleasing to the eye she has an equally strong positive reaction. She would be embarrassed to be seen with someone over the smallest fashion transgressions. She feels the need to comment on EVERYTHING. If she's in someone's house and she doesn't like the decor she'll tell you all about the awful furniture the moment she leaves the house. She grimaces, contorts and gossips about it.

Here are 2 examples applicable to me:

One time I wasn't planning on going anywhere that day so I wore whatever I could find that day and I ended up with a green jacket and a bright pink purse. I don't really like the purse too much but someone gave it to me as a gift so I feel guilty about throwing it out. When she saw me she had a reaction and grimaced. She called my husband later on and told him that I needed a makeover.

One time she actually liked my makeup and outfit and she acted in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. She was in awe of me and it really creeped me out.

Recently, I bought a new dress for the summer and forgot to cut the tag off. I bumped into her in public.She somehow spotted the tag and picked it off. Later she called my husband and told him that I had embarrassed myself because of the tag. I found this to be strange and I did not think the incident was embarrassing.

Anyways, this is an issue almost every time I see her. It's really bothersome and dramatic. My husband often agrees with her observations so I've got no loyalty on my end. How can I get her to stop making comments and phoning my husband about it?

  • 3
    So, you'd like not to hear her silly comments and not have her phone your husband about it, is that what you want to achieve ? Cause it's a bit unclear as of now.
    – Dastardly
    Jul 5, 2018 at 11:27
  • Yeah, I think so. Jul 5, 2018 at 11:30
  • I added a question to the post, feel free to roll it back or edit it if it's not what you were thinking. Jul 5, 2018 at 12:01
  • 2
    would you be okay if she kept on commenting everything, as long as she doesn't call your husband about it?
    – kscherrer
    Jul 5, 2018 at 12:08
  • 3
    What have you tried so far? Talking to her about it? Talking to your husband?
    – Meelah
    Jul 5, 2018 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to go is often the honest and direct way. I think that may apply here.

I'm pretty openly anti-fashionable. I like my combat boots, I love my mohawk, and I'll generally wear whatever feels comfortable and looks clean at the time. Don't get me wrong, when it's a special occasion, I clean up pretty well. I just don't particularly care much about other people's opinions when it comes to those things.

Same goes for my mismatched furniture. I prefer chairs that are comfortable, and a living space that looks lived in.

I remember the first time my cousin came to visit me when I was living in Tennessee. She was agast at my apartment. The primary lighting throughout the place was Christmas tree lights, and I hadn't bothered to buy a couch. Nothing matched, the little furniture I did have was all second hand.

She reacted in much the same way that your sister-in-law probably would have. She turned her nose up and started lecturing me about how to put together a proper home. Particularly ranty about my need for a couch.

I responded the way I normally do in those cases...

Well, I've been living here for six months without a couch, so I pretty obviously don't need one. I like my soft lighting and comfortable accommodations the way they are.

She huffed and puffed about the couch some more, I blew her off, and then she went out and bought me a couch. (Score)

Basically it boils down to a:

I like my stuff the way it is, thank you very much.

After a few of these kinds of responses people will generally start to back off.

Another prime example would probably be my hair. I've dated, worked for, and been related to loads of people who had issues with my mohawk. My ex was a hairstylist and would regularly lament my anti-fashionable hair. My usual response would usually be along the lines of:

It's just hair. I like it this way.

Or, if I was feeling particularly abrasive that day my favorite line was:

It's my a$$hole detector. Whenever I walk into a room, the a$$holes are sure to say something about it.

My suggestion is to push back a little. You don't have to be as abrasive about it as I am, but let them know that they're pushing and that it's not welcome.

Who knows, if they're as pushy as my cousin tends to be, you may even get some free furniture out of it.

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