Dear Cory: Afraid to Offend, Should I Stay with My Sister or Stay at a Hotel?
Proper etiquette is to stop caring about such trivial matters. First of all, by your own admission, you haven’t even asked your sister about whether she even has room for you or not yet. As such, you are worrying about a problem that may or may not even exist. Do you realize how ridiculous this is? Rather than contacting your sister, the person who can actually tell you whether she would or would not be offended by you opting to stay in a hotel, versus staying with her, you are writing a letter to someone else who has absolutely no “skin in the game”, so to say.
In the time it took you to write this ridiculous letter of yours and to get a response from me, you could have contacted your sister probably a hundred times over and already worked your way through this. So the problem I see here is not whether or not you choosing a hotel over your sister’s house would be offensive, but rather that you are an overanxious worrywart who is going to, perhaps literally, worry herself into an early grave, if you don’t change your behavior starting right now.
Where ever or when ever did you get the idea or come to the conclusion that you and mother need someone else’s permission to do what is best for you? Are you seriously considering putting your health (and your comfort) on the back burner just to please your sister? Because if so, I have to ask: Is your sister so careless or lacking in empathy that you honestly believe she would want you and your mother to stay with her, assuming that doing so would cause you great pain or discomfort? If she is, then my next question would be: Why the hell are you going so far out of your way to see her? Or why are you going to see her at all? Do you like pain and discomfort?
Going to visit your “loved ones” should not be a painful, uncomfortable ordeal, but rather an enjoyable experience, and it seems to me that you are far more concerned with making your sister happy (despite the fact that you have no such power) than making yourself happy. I want you to stop and think for a moment about the real reason for why you and your mother want to visit your sister. If it’s solely about making her happy (which, again, you have absolutely no ability to do, as happiness is an inside job), then by all means, sleep on as many sofas and air mattresses as you like, but if it’s because seeing your sister makes you happy, then newsflash: It doesn’t matter where you and your mother sleep, because you can’t see your sister while you are sleeping anyway.
What difference, really, does it make, in the grand scheme of things, whether you stay in a hotel or at your sister’s house? Are you going to look back on your visit to her, say, 20 or 30 years from now and think yourself, “If only I’d have stayed at her house instead of that damn hotel, she and I would still be sisters!” I think not. So stop making mountains out of mole hills and start focusing on what really matters (or should really matter) to you: Your own happiness. And when you do that, I’m willing to bet that, if your sister is anything like mine, you will come to find that your sister never cared about where you slept to begin with and was only concerned about your happiness—as a good sister should be.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here today! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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