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Ask Lisi: Should I ask sister to make an effort with my kids?

You cannot change your sister. You can only control your reaction. And since you know what to expect, prepare yourself to be disappointed.
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher

Dear Lisi: My sister and I have been at odds for a few years. We didn’t see eye-to-eye during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we lived through those years very differently. We’re both married with children, so our thoughts, decisions and actions affected our spouses and our children as well. And we live in different countries.

We have basically agreed to disagree on all topics related to politics, health, marriage and parenting. There’s not much left to talk about, so we don’t talk that much. But I always reach out on birthdays, especially her children’s, and I always send a gift, even if it’s just money or a gift card.

She hasn’t wished me a happy birthday in years, which I can handle. But she also hasn’t wished my children a happy birthday and that makes me mad! Two are twins, and their 10th birthday is coming up next month.

Should I reach out and remind my sister? Should I tell her how important it is to me that she contact them? Or do I let it go?


You cannot change your sister’s attitudes or behaviour. You know that. What’s important to you seemingly isn’t important to her. Or maybe it is, but she pretends it isn’t just to enrage you.

Either way, you can’t control her actions. You can only control your reaction. And since you know what to expect, prepare yourself to be disappointed, so that when the time comes, you’re not.

Celebrate your twins and forget about what your sister is missing. It’s not your problem.

Reader’s Commentary: “About three years ago, I started to try some online dating sites. I have now tested three different sites. I don’t know if due to my age (over 65) people don’t feel the need to be courteous or ethical, or sometimes even legal.

“I have received numerous approaches from ‘ladies’ (at least according to their photos and profile) from the northwest United States (WA, ID, MT, OR). None are legit. I challenge each by questioning if they would consider relocating to Canada. I basically receive two types of replies: 1) little over half delete the connection immediately, or 2) start the ‘you seem like a generous guy’ routine, clearly attempting to start romance scam. These latter I report, but nothing seems to change.

“However, for those who seem genuine and of reasonable proximity, I am increasingly questioning. Why subscribe if you don’t intend to be active? I have gotten into the routine, on all three sites I have tried, to just delete if shown no activity of any kind for a month.

“Then the other group who are active don’t respond at all. I have even added to my profile a request that if they’re not interested, they could please delete the connection. Basically, I don’t want to be left hanging. But still, most just do nothing. What is the purpose of such dating sites?

“Just to be clear, I do practice what I preach. When I receive an invitation or ‘smile,’ I immediately do one of two things: 1) I either respond, or 2) I disconnect if I don’t feel a match. I don’t want to leave anyone hanging.

“I have had numerous interactions with the site administrators. My conclusion is now that they really don’t care as long as they keep receiving subscription fees. The proof of this has been the sob email I receive from each administrator when I advise that I won’t be renewing. Unfortunately, I gave into one, with the experience that the second subscription had even less relevant activity.

“Just wondering of other readers’ experiences, especially those over 65. I’m going to try speed-dating soon. No more online dating sites for me.”

Senior Dater

FEEDBACK Regarding the guys who didn’t mention their girlfriends to their female friend (Feb. 9):

Reader — “It sounds likely that neither of these guys wanted to destroy their genuine and good friendship. How many times do you hear stories about the ‘mistake’ a guy made when he tried to push a friendship towards romance?

“But my question is, did she even try to send out any signals that she may have been interested? Or was she afraid of the same thing happening?

“Not all relationships between males and females are meant to be romantic. Some are just meant to be really good friendships.”

Lisi – The same applies to relationships between people of the same gender. Gender isn’t the issue. If a person has stronger feelings toward another that are not reciprocated, it can – and often does – change the nature of the original relationship. It’s happened to me with both men and women.

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnist based in Toronto. Send your questions to [email protected]