Dear Abby: Sisters’ lifelong rivalry escalates into silence

Dear Abby: Our daughters aren’t speaking. One says she really doesn’t “like” the other. These are mature women who have had their differences throughout their lives. But they have tolerated each other, one more than the other.

The older one claims her sister posted not-so-nice things about her. The younger one threatens not to attend any gatherings if her sister is there. This needs to be resolved before years go by and our family is torn apart.

They stopped speaking a month ago – on their dad’s birthday. It was one of the worst days of our lives. We’re in our 80s, and I may never again see them together. The older one says she’s willing to go to counseling, but the younger refuses.

We’re desperate for a reconciliation. They don’t have to be best friends, just be civil and tolerate a holiday together for our sake. Please advise. – Helpless and Sad in Dallas

Dear Helpless and Sad: Unless both of your daughters are willing to accept counseling or mediation, they will not reconcile. For your younger daughter to resort to emotional blackmail (“if she’s there, I won’t be”) is despicable. Please do not give in to it. Tell her that if she decides to change her mind, she’s always welcome, and then proceed without her. You may be desperate for a reconciliation, but until your daughters are, it won’t happen and you will have to accept it.

Dear Abby: Recently I was listening to a couple talking about who and who not to invite to a wedding because seating was limited.

I’m wondering whether there would be anything wrong with sending out a letter stating that although they would like to invite everyone, seating is limited. Explain that, of course, immediate family (parents, siblings and their spouses) would be invited without exception. However, the remaining seating would be on a “lottery” basis. If people accept the invitation, they would be in the lottery and then notified of the results.

Is this acceptable? I think it would solve a lot of problems. Just wondering. – Just a Thought in Ohio

Dear Just a Thought: If I were you, I would forget this concept. Depending upon the size of the guest list, I strongly suspect it would offend anyone who didn’t “win” the lottery.