48

I think the problem here could be that by acting disinterested about those family members, your mother feels like you are also acting disinterested about her feelings. My mother does the exact same thing. I do in general also not really care about a large part of my family members. But the thing is that she does care. When something troublesome is happening ...


19

The idea that you can fake reasonably complex emotional responses with a kind of formula is illogical. Your mother, and probably no-one else, has probably never been fooled by your script, but this time got fed up and decided to press you on it. Is there anyone you are genuinely interested in? How would such a conversation go in this case? What kind of ...


13

It's hard to be sure, but I think you're misunderstanding the help that is being asked for. You hear "come over and help grandfather get better, or help me decide if we should rush to the hospital." I hear "come over and help me feel better about my husband being sick and maybe having to go to the hospital." She doesn't want to be alone ...


10

This sounds like, in the end, you are going to need to grit your teeth and stand your ground. But they are a few things you could try before that. If those are work meetings, the easiest solution would just be to say "Sorry, I'm not available at this time but this <other time within work hours> works for me". I work part-time so this issue ...


9

First of all, remember that your grandmother is in a very, very scary situation. Her husband that she has loved and relied on for decades, is mysteriously ill. Being scared and panicked is normal under these circumstances. I'm not saying that panicking helps, just that it's normal. I sometimes get calls from a close relative who gets easily overwhelmed ...


6

Framing is used to have others think in a certain way about a problem. Winning the argument by assuming you already won. A classic example of framing outside politics is found in parenting smaller children. (Not "do you want to put on your shoes?" but "which shoe do you want to put on first?" - Don't leave a doubt that they will put on ...


5

It sounds like simply ignoring messages isn't an option. In cases like this where I don't want to be interrupted, I've usually gone with a variant of "I'm pretty busy, what's up?". If the answer is "I've got an exception I need you to look at" or some such work issue, then I make a priority decision. But if it's chitchat, and chitchat is unavoidable, what ...


3

I believe there are ways to counter the lack of nuance, black and white thinking that comes associated to this phenomenon. Play dumb Usually when we have a complex topic summarized in one word, and applied in the wild, it's always possible to not know the reference, genuinely (I often don't), or perhaps because you'd like to be sure of what interpretation of ...


3

I'm not sure how to "gently turn down digital small-talk and prevent any new attempts at having it," given everything you have already tried. I read through the question, the other answer, and all the comments. It appears that your company is attempting to extend office protocol to the work-at-home situation. But it's not working. People are chatting all day ...


2

I'd like to say that I'm actually much more on the chatty side than you seem to be, and do quite a bit of unscheduled small talk in this new WFH environment. That said, I'd very rarely ping somebody just for that -- I'd shoot them a work related question, and if I get a prompt, wordy answer (or sometimes "d'you wanna short call about this?") I ...


2

A point mentioned in the question is that you have "unbalance between levels of benevolence-based trust and integrity-based trust". I think this is a misconception of trust as being per-nature quanta that could be independently high or low. Trust as a metric or collection of metric is highly criticized. Trust escapes a simple measurement because ...


2

It's been a few months now since writing this question, but I think during the last two months or so, I solved the problem. Grandma is now calling less and if she does, I manage to handle the phone calls in a way that makes her stop bombarding my parents with phone calls after our call. A few things coincided here that have helped deal with grandma's phone ...


1

Personal Experience I have had few seniors who used to say that I am their good friend to get more than what I get paid for. This helps the organization, no doubt. This relation can be healthy too. Few people take their role very seriously and do not pay attention to their own personal time. However, the majority of the time, it is for personal gains. I need ...


1

I think the situation triggered your relatives and friends imagination, and that they were simply assuming you'd be willing to be part of imagining things also as kind of a shared activity. Some people (I'd include myself) also get ideas about how to behave in the future when they have a clear view of the possible outcomes, that include a degree of what-if ...


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