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Reader Q & A: Saying NO to the Queen of Favors

Published: August 9, 2008 | Last Updated: September 6, 2013 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
It can be hard saying no to someone who asks for anything and everything.


Dear Irene,

Someone please help. E-mail me a response. I have a friend that is about to be my sister-in-law; her wedding is in two weeks. She takes and takes and TAKES from me because I can’t say NO!

I’m fed up and don’t know how to tell her. She has me sending out invitations, baking and decorating her cupcakes and the groom’s cake for the wedding, helping her with the music and there’s no telling what else is yet to come. If I try to say NO, she twists it and keeps pressuring me until I give in. Oh, and I’m her maid of honor. We had to pay for our own dresses and my husband had to pay for his shirt—that’s over $100.00 already. I paid to give her a luau shower and I helped out with the bachelorette party.

The last straw was when my husband didn’t pay for his shirt because we spent over $50 (the price of the shirt) on necessities for the cakes…he just wanted to call it even. Now she is calling me, crying and upset trying to get me to pay for the shirt!!!

Signed Megan


Hi Megan:

This is just the beginning of your relationship with your once-friend who morphed into a sister-in-law—so you need to set realistic boundaries for the future about what you feel comfortable doing for her and what you don’t. For example, you shouldn’t feel like you have to spend more money on her than feels comfortable for you or that fits within your budget—no matter what she thinks she deserves or is entitled to. She may think that now that you are relatives, she can ask you for anything and everything.

As time passes, if you keep acquiescing to every favor the Queen of Favors asks of you, as you have seen, she will continue to ask for more. You may need to speak to your brother to give him a heads up and to ask for his help in giving the message to his bride-to-be that you are starting to feel like a patsy. You don’t want to blindside him and create conflict between the newlyweds by taking on his wife without letting him know.

That said, weddings are always times of great angst for brides and their families. I think that now isn’t the time to begin to say NO for the first time or to try to change your sister-in-law-to-be. Be gracious until the wedding is over and let her enjoy her special day. Then stick to your guns.

Hope this is helpful.

Best, Irene


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  1. CC says:

    Hi Irene,

    Thank you in advance for your assistance with my query.

    I have a question about friendships between males and females.

    Is it unreasonable for me to assume the same expectations of a male friend as I would of my female friends eg calling me when he says he will, being reliable, loyalty, sharing things about himself as much as I share about myself, responding to my emails should I send them with questions in them, not avoiding me.

    I have re-established a friendship with an old schoolfriend through the internet. I am not sure whether or not the friendship is ever going to become a close friendship like I thought it was going to be where we get to hang out together and have fun or whether I shouldn’t just forget about it altogether. It started off good and then I felt that he was deliberately avoiding me. When I asked if we were good, he’d just say there wasn’t a problem, but my gut says that there is, but I’m not sure if its me or him.

    I would like to know if there seems boundary issues here, on my part, and whether I’m coming off too needy expecting him to be accountable for his actions/inaction. It is a friendship, but I have worried that at times it has been more like we were at the beginnings of sizing each other up for dating purposes, which would be totally inappropriate as I am married and wouldn’t disrespect my husband like that, and the friend assures me that he would never have an affair as that is what his ex-wife did to him. I worry however that I am being totally disrespected here because I feel like I am being honest but he isn’t being honest with me – probably because he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, but it is dishonest non-the-less.

    Also, is it inappropriate to share things about your life with your male friends, if it is done openly (ie you tell your husband what you discuss), or should that only be something that is discussed with female friends because then there is no risk of inappropriate intimacy?


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