How to deal with rambling relatives

Is it wrong to tell someone they talk too much? Auntyji shares her thoughts.

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Dear Auntyji

I recently experienced a situation where I have conflicting feelings and I don’t know what I should do.

At Christmas, my parents and aunt came from Delhi to stay with us for a while. Now my aunt is married to a German man – and we speak a mixture of English and Hindi.

I, myself, am married to an Australian and we have a 5-year-old son. Jake is highly intelligent, very emotionally aware, kind, thoughtful and occasionally, very funny. 

Meanwhile, my aunt who is 55, has a corporate job, is also highly intelligent, NOT so emotionally aware, and talkative. By god, she is a rambling relative. When she holds court, no one can get a word in edgewise. But she dotes on Jake – she doesn’t have kids of her own so he is super special to her.

So over Christmas, we were having lunch and Aunt Simone was doing her usual thing of talking talking talking. When she stopped to draw a breath, Jake looked at her and said, “You talk a lot, don’t you? Why is that?” 

At first Aunt Simone just laughed. But he persisted. He asked her again, “Why do you talk so much?”

Now at that time, we got a phone call and I don’t know what happened next, but since that conversation, Aunt Simone has talked much less. She is still her happy self but talks 50% less than she used to. What should I make of this, Auntyji? Do I need to say something?

Auntyji says 

Arre, my dear besan ki burfi, just because Aunt Simone has left a void, why do you feel you need to be the one to fill it? Is there a problem here? I don’t see any problems. Aunt Simone has just stopped sucking up all the oxygen in the room – and for the first time in her life, she probably reflected on the words of a child. 

And she rightfully came to the obvious conclusion that she was a rambling relative – and that she had indeed, much to say.

See, the thing is, no one had been kind to Aunt Simone over the years to point out her bad habit to her. All of you tolerated her bad habit – and in other words, all of you were unkind and uncharitable to her.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of giving, Jake decided to give Aunt Simone the gift of insight. And he did it in a kind, polite, innocent and curious way. And Aunt Simone is not upset and she is not being passive-aggressive either.

So I think you should let sleeping dogs lie. The deed is done. It was a Christmas miracle, and your son has saved the family from human tinnitus. Don’t stress about this. Relax. And go give Jake an extra treat. He deserves it for being the man no one else around him is.

Happy New Year! 

READ ALSO: When desi-to-desi is not easy

The original Australian sub-continental agony aunt. Email: info@indianlink.com.au

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