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I am traveling to my home town 1000 miles away. My mother…

I am traveling to...

I am traveling to my home town 1000 miles away. My mother wants me to call all the family members since I will be in town. I don’t understand why I would call them to tell them I am not seeing them. I can call from here.

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Answered in 2 hours by:
11/30/2017
Rev Dr August Abbott
Rev Dr August Abbott, Adult Etiquette Pro
Category: Etiquette
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Experience: 40 yrs: Etiquette teacher,Formal event officiate, announcement author, minister
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I am August Abbott, formally trained x12 yrs private school:international protocols, etiquette. Please allow a few mins. to compose your response.

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While this question isn't uncommon in families, at this time of year it escalates and often adds to the stress of the season. On the one hand, mom could just be exercising some maternal control she likely feels is running low given that you live so far away. She may also want some 'bragging rights' in that you've come all these many miles to visit. It's probably not at all about being polite, but more about being her 'child' even though you're obviously an adult.

You could ask her to make those calls and invite those people to stop by to see you while you're there. Since it's not your place to make such invitations she shouldn't argue (too much). Explain to mom that if you make those calls you might get invitations to go visit those people and you really aren't interested in sharing your time that much. This is supposed to be a nice visit, not a series of obligations and appointments to keep.

When it comes to the etiquette of the situation, YOU are not the one who is supposed to reach out to people living in the vicinity you're visiting. It's up to THEM to reach out to you when they know you're there (again, via mom letting them know)

Etiquette aside - it's your own judgement call as to whether you want a moody mom as the result of your not making phone calls or if you're up to a possible deluge of invitations and expectations of visits to others who feel obligated to call you and have to say something (so inviting you to visit is easy). If you make the calls yourself, mom's happy and you retain control over the people you're calling. It's easy enough to start the conversations with "Hi John, this is Jane. I'm in town and going to be so busy I won't have time to see everyone so I thought I'd give you a call".

At least it should help to know you're not alone. This is happening all over the world with families of all shapes and sizes. Keep it all in perspective and have a happy holiday

Rev Dr August Abbott
Rev Dr August Abbott, Adult Etiquette Pro
Category: Etiquette
Satisfied Customers: 7,709
Experience: 40 yrs: Etiquette teacher,Formal event officiate, announcement author, minister
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
My mother actually lives here with me. I was going to where I grew up to a high school reunion. She wanted me to call family while I was there for 2 nights. I felt uncomfortable calling my uncle to say, "I am here but you are not important enough for me to see during those 40 hours." I asked my mother to define the rules in terms of distance or length of stay and she just got mad at me. I'm 53 and she is 80. I feel like I am 5. Are there distance or time rules for calling or visiting someone when you are travelling somewhere for a short period of time and for a different purpose?

Thanks for the additional details, it does change things. YOU are right (I'm sorry mom) - a phone call to people just because you're in their area, but have no time or intention of visiting them makes no common sense whatsoever. With regard to etiquette it is not even an issue.

Let's imagine that in your travels to reach this destination you pass through multiple cities where you know someone or have a relative - it would not be required for politeness sake to call them and in effect say exactly what you said, "Hi Uncle Bob, I'm in your area for the next couple of hours and thought to say hello before getting back on the plane/in the car/on the bus/train"

There are no phone calls to make; however, back to a happy or unhappy mom. A phone call or ten might just be the cost of her being in a good mood. Still all up to you

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I'm in a bird rescue sanctuary and phone calls are impossible. My apologies. May we continue as we have been in this 'chat' venue?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
A bird rescue sanctuary--that sounds like a great place to be. Thank you for your help. I am heading to bed. I am taking my father to surgery in the morning. I will contact you again. Thank you.

I'm hoping all went well with your dad's surgery today. It adds to the stress of everything else doesn't it? If we're done with your original question would you mind clicking a rating so we can close it.

This doesn't mean I'm abandoning you by any means. I'm here for you whenever you need, not just in etiquette, but also in 'relationships' and counseling if and when you ever need support in dealing with difficult situations like your mom's most recent insistence that you make phone calls

Thanks and again, I sincerely ***** ***** is well

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