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Advice on talking to uncle?

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frigidfire86 posted 8/6/2013 17:51 PM

My family sucks. I mean it really sucks. I come from a very dysfunctional family that thrives on drama, making others miserable, and many are drug addicts. A few of us were lucky enough to get away and lead relatively normal lives, although we all have our own FOO issues. My uncle is one that got away. After a few years he just stopped talking to everyone completely. I think it was just easier to cut all of us out of his life so he didn't have to deal with or even hear about the dysfunction anymore. This past weekend I decided to message him on Facebook. I kept it light and short, asking if he was still living in the same area and what's new in his life. I also wrote a couple sentences about what I have been doing for the past few years (moving overseas and going back to school). I honestly didn't expect a response, despite how close we were when I was younger. Well, he wrote back, just a few short messages back and forth, but it is the first time anyone has heard from him in years. I don't want to bombard him with info about the family and he has had a very difficult life, so telling him all about the great things in my life seems insensitive (he's not one to be happy for another when his life sucks...he's very pessimistic and occasionally a jerk, but it has never bothered me). I don't know what to talk to him about. I don't want our communication to end...I miss him a lot, but how do I converse with someone that hasn't been a part of my life in so long? What in the world do we talk about? It'd be a little easier if he asked questions, but his messages left nothing to really respond to.

[This message edited by frigidfire86 at 5:52 PM, August 6th (Tuesday)]

lost_in_toronto posted 8/6/2013 20:59 PM

I have recently started reconnecting with an uncle who I was very close to when I was younger. It can be tough, because we don't have that much in common and family stuff only provides limited fodder for communication.

In our case, my uncle and I both like to read so we often talk about books with have recently read. Movies are also good. And when I send notes, I try to keep it about the small stuff - like, today I went for a walk and noticed the cherry trees were in bloom. Sometimes I refer back to shared memories about were we both grew up - the ocean, beaches, our high school even. Slowly I think we are building a rapport again.

Do you know his hobbies? Do you know much about where he lives? What books he reads or movies he watches? Try keeping it low key and not too personal to start, that's been working for us!

Lionne posted 8/6/2013 21:57 PM

Ask him about himself, how was their day, what do they like to eat, to watch on tv, movies,'s always a good thing to show interest in the other person, especially if you do want to get to know them. It shows you to be a compassionate person and makes the other feel special and important.

heartbroken_kk posted 8/7/2013 01:32 AM

I wouldn't bomb him with multiple responses. Let it sit a bit, then maybe send another message in a week. If it takes a few months to re-establish a comfortable "chat" type of relationship then maybe you can try to get him to open up more.

But I would make sure your communications include some pauses.

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