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59

You're going to have to find out who they are regardless of how well they know you. You start with something softer. Sorry I've recently got a new phone, who's speaking, please? This basically says what you said to us, you've had a new phone handset and don't have the number saved. or you could just say: Who's speaking, please? If the new handset ...


56

Write a kind letter, expressing appreciation for the gift. It is very thoughtful of your grandfather to try to eliminate some of the hassles involved in the distribution of his estate after he passes. You can at least say that much (just the thoughtful part, not why) truthfully. In the US, a thank you note is not considered enough if all it says is "thank ...


18

When I get calls like this, I just lead the conversation. I respond to the question with something like, I'm doing great. What can I do for you? Typically, the caller will introduce or identify themselves at that stage and (hopefully) get to the point. In nearly every case they do introduce themselves and start with their spiel at which point I usually ...


16

If I don't ask at all, I'll feel like a jerk. If I do ask, I might feel I have to explain to them why I ended the relationship (though I'm sure they are aware of problems with my boyfriend)... It's polite and kind to ask about someone's loved ones when having an extended conversation. It's not a lie that you're sad that he's suffering. But it's not like you'...


15

"Who is this?" should be pretty neutral and understandable. Possible variations: "I'm sorry, who is this?", "I'm sorry, whom am I speaking with?"


11

Your mother loves you, and loves your father, so she sees the benefits of the two of you reuniting. Unfortunately, her love is probably optimistic as well. If you had a toxic relationship with your father, your mother's wish is in reality not a loving one for you, I'm very sorry to say. Because you say nothing about your mom, I'll assume she's a lovely ...


10

You are putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself. I too have siblings that are very busy/stressed etc. It's my responsibility to always be available for them but it's their responsibility to make the time. A few times each month, I call/text different family members I don't see often and tell them I need 10-15 minutes to catch up. They call me ...


9

I will assume that you remember your parents' phone number, and that it hasn't changed. Start with a phone call from a phone that's not associated with your name. If your father answers, hang up, note down the time of day (to avoid it in future), and wait at least a few days before trying again. With this approach, you'll probably be successful sooner or ...


9

I get a lot of calls from strangers. They only want to sell me things, not change my family dynamic, but even from that point of view, I can tell you that your current plan is unlikely to be the smoothest possible approach. I can suggest some improvements. First, don't ask "do you have time to talk?" That is not a yes or no question. It depends what you ...


8

I apologize if I'm reading too much into this, but it sounds to me like a big motivation for asking is because you feel guilty about causing him pain. If that's the case, instead of asking questions to indirectly show you are concerned for his well-being, just tell them. I hope John is doing alright. I know he took the breakup hard, so I've been trying to ...


7

Introduce yourself and explain your motives. You're trying to get in touch with a family member, and they haven't responded yet. That's a fairly understandable scenario, and not especially creepy. In contrast, if you withhold explanation, then the omission could be perceived as suspicious or creepy. They may doubt your credentials or your motives. At ...


6

Try using Nonviolent Communication (aka "Compassionate Communication") with your Dad. The template used goes "When you do [A] I feel [B]. I need [C]. I need you to do [D]." So applying the template to your case you might try Because I love you so much, I need to discuss something with you. When we get together you either ask me about career and ...


6

On one hand, I want to respect her decision but on the other hand, Stop right there. Why is there an "other hand"? You admit that doing anything other than not talking to her would mean not respecting her decision. You cannot rebuild a relationship by violating her stated boundaries. She doesn't want to hear from you and she isn't interested in telling you ...


6

I think the general idea of your letter is perfectly fine, though I would modify it slightly to be a little more formal and add some more info. I recommend more formal, because letters in general tend to be more formally written, and you are addressing a stranger who is from an older generation. I also recommend mentioning the reason you are contacting them ...


5

Bring it up during conversation. When your dad tries to inquire about how things are going in your life, you should respond with something like this: Hey, I appreciate that you're interested in how things are going for me, but do you think we could talk about X instead? I think it might be fun to just forget about that stuff for a while and talk about ...


5

I'd start by asking if grandmother knows that mother has her contact information. If so, then I'd respond with "I understand you want to get together but that's not my place to give out contact information. I'm sorry but I can't get in the middle of this. If Mom wants to contact you, she will." If she does not, then I'd respond with, "I haven't asked her ...


4

I really don't think you need to do anything. Starting a conversation without even a simple hello, even amongst close acquaintances, and especially on the phone, is out of the norm. The problem was with the caller and not anything you said. A more common expression in your scenario would be to say 'Who is this?' rather than 'Who are you?' since the latter ...


3

I have lived in Canada for 50 years. People have mentioned their religion and I have never seen someone react poorly to hearing someone was Catholic. 30 years ago I would hear "jokes" such as equating being Catholic with having a large family, but I never heard anyone worrying that a Catholic would try to convert them. Further, I never heard anyone trying ...


3

If you are friends on Facebook, drop them a line in messenger, something like Hi, I am doing my family tree right now (isn't everyone), and I remember my mum telling me you knew my father, is there anything you could tell me about his extended family? With these really open-ended question you haven't put them on the spot as well they can say it took them ...


3

TL;DR No, you probably shouldn't ask, and if you do ask don't press the issue. Unless you're hoping to rekindle this relationship it would probably be best to leave it be. Asking his parents about him, in anything more than a passing way, may be perceived as a signal that you would like to resume the relationship. If they read your question that way, you ...


3

I would like to add to @anongoodnurse's excellent answer. A proper (personal and detailed) thank you in some way (letter, phone call, etc.) is the most appropriate response. It could be, though, that the estranged grandfather is making some kind of attempt to reconnect, to repair the relationship. My source for this? Personal experience. In my ...


2

Can you even avoid it, I wonder. I would think that eventually you would most likely have to ask that question. Perhaps you could have tried pretending you knew who she was by just asking how she was and just talk about yourself until something, some kind of clue helped you remember her. But yeah, after reading Bradley's answer you could just say that you ...


2

I think you have to be truthful. You can tell her that, you respect your mother choice but if one day your mother wishes to reconnect with her family then you will be glad to give her her contact information. Forcing your mother in a relationship that she escaped for a very long time, might maybe also stain your relationship with your mother. So you have to ...


2

Don't avoid it, instead keep the conversation exactly as you've had it! Even in cases like "Hi is this Masked Man?" Again ask "Who is this?" This time you got lucky as it was an old friend of yours but next time it could be a scammer: Not a very well known scam but one that terrifies me is all they need is any positive response from you: Then:"Is this ..."...


2

Having been a dad in a somewhat similar situation... He's trying. Being a dad is a hard thing to be. One of those things that you don't fully wrap your head around till you're doing it and questioning wether you're doing it well, so you try harder... It's a vicious cycle. As a dad you're trying to impart all of those lessons and tips you wish someone told ...


1

After the apology, a good segue into explaining the reasoning behind occurred is that explaining that your contact with your mom cannot involve your father. This is obviously the most important thing to you when it comes to getting in touch with her, so this is what you should aim to clear the air about first. It'll both give you a chance to explain your ...


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