I snubbed a relative, and am not sure how to make it better.
August 3, 2014 3:55 PM   Subscribe

A question from a friend of mine: I was relaxing at home, and was more than a tad under the influence of Mary Jane when my brother - who lives with me - got a call from my aunt. My aunt asked to speak to me, and my brother - not realizing I was messed up - said "oh, she's right here" and immediately brought me the phone. I get VERY paranoid when I am under the influence, and refused to talk to my aunt. She is now upset with me, and I feel awful. How do I rectify this situation and save my relationship with my aunt?

(Just so anyone is wondering: My friend has agreed to let me post this.)

My aunt can be very funny, and she sometimes plays a fictional character when she talks to me which I find very funny (yes, we are both adults...)
I was in no shape to talk to a relative, though, as I had severely underestimated the potency of what I had been smoking and could barely string together a coherent sentence; also, the character she plays can say things that are a little creepy, and I was already "wigging out" a little - I didn't want to have a panic attack or something! Finally, I was terrified of my aunt - a teetotaler - finding out that I had smoked.

So when my brother brought me the phone, I whispered to my brother to tell the aunt that I was in the shower. Apparently, what I thought was a whisper was actually a really loud voice, as my aunt overheard what I had said. My brother attempted damage control ("oh, she said she was in the shower because she feels really sick and doesn't want to talk to anyone, of COURSE she wants to talk to you, Aunt Blahblahblah..." but my brother told me after the fact that the aunt sounded surprised and hurt.

Now, not only do I feel awful, but said aunt is prone to holding grudges. She can be rather scary with people she doesn't like, and I don't want to fall on her **** list. So, I'm thinking of how I can get back on good terms with my aunt, and could use some ideas.

Really, the only reason I can think of that sounds plausible is for me to tell her that I was sick (like my brother had said), and wasn't in the condition to talk to anyone. I would feel bad about lying, but I consider it to be the lesser of two evils in this case. I've racked my brain, but can't think of an explanation that sounds more believable.

Can anyone think of a good way to phrase this, or is there a better idea that I'm not thinking of? Please help me fix this relationship which I have damaged.
posted by BuddyBoo to Human Relations (16 answers total)
Just say you had an upset stomach.

If she really presses things, mention puking or other unpleasant activities. She'll drop it and (hopefully) forget about it soon enough.
posted by Fister Roboto at 3:58 PM on August 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Really, the only reason I can think of that sounds plausible is for me to tell her that I was sick (like my brother had said), and wasn't in the condition to talk to anyone. I would feel bad about lying, but I consider it to be the lesser of two evils in this case.

Do it, and don't feel bad. This is a white lie. Just say you were half-asleep, your brother didn't know, he woke you up by accident and you barely knew what you were saying when you refused to talk to her. Maybe you were even whacked out on cold meds! It happens. Call her up and have a nice chat after you 'explain'.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:58 PM on August 3, 2014 [28 favorites]

I think the phrasing is less important than the fact that your aunt may suddenly feel like her phone calls are actually unwelcome, and is maybe second-guessing the degree of your sincerity towards her phone calls, having overheard your whisper.

I would just continue the upset stomach white lie, and call back ---- and then, call back a little after that, just to say hi, so that it's clear to her that you're actually interested in talking to her.
posted by suedehead at 4:02 PM on August 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

Call her yourself (don't wait for her to contact you), apologise for not talking to her and say you had a "stomach upset...if you know what I mean...."

It fits with the excuse your brother gave, and if she thinks you had the trots, she'll understand why you were embarrassed enough to suggest the fake excuse of being in the shower.
posted by penguin pie at 4:04 PM on August 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

Definitely allude to diarrhea, it's the perfect excuse for your weirdness and embarassment. She will likely accept and drop it.
posted by katypickle at 4:06 PM on August 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Do make sure to reach out to her promptly and have a conversation or a meeting where you make it clear through your actions (and not just by saying it) that you welcome communication from her and that this was an unusual exception to that.

And.. consider anonymizing your post. Even if it's a question from a friend, some people will assume that you are asking on your own behalf.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:06 PM on August 3, 2014

Don't feel bad: this is a situation for which white lies are made. The only alternatives are to tell your teetotaler aunt you were high or to ignore her and the situation which will make her feel bad.
posted by sfkiddo at 4:08 PM on August 3, 2014

Call her and talk to her right away. Time tends to blow these things out of proportion. "Hi, Aunt Teetotaler, this is Mary Jane, just wanted to call now that I'm feeling better. Brother Boy tried to give me the phone literally as I was rushing to the bathroom, how embarrassing! How about your weird character tells me how weird that is?!! Ha!"
posted by xingcat at 4:37 PM on August 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd stick as close to the truth as possible, substituting drinking for pot if it's less bad in your aunt's mind. I don't think alternative explanations would make sense. She heard your tone and words, which probably went along the lines of "It's Aunty? Noooooooh, no way, tell her I'm not here ". There's a personal element there that upset stomach / the runs couldn't plausibly explain, and if it were really the runs, your brother would have probably been laughing at you (if he's like any brother I know).

"I was drunk, Aunty, it's terrible. I was ashamed of myself, and worried about what you'd think of me, because I know how you feel about that and I care about you lots. I'm sorry if I hurt you. I don't think I'll drink to excess again, and I'll certainly stay away from tequila" could work.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:44 PM on August 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

I'd go with a white lie about stomach flu with explosions from both ends. Don't confess that you enjoy a toke or a drink if you already know she's a grudge-holding teetotaler. If she pushes you, dazzle her with stomach churning descriptions of sickness. Then tell her that she knows how much you love her and how much you enjoy your hilarious chats with her and you're sorry that you were in such bad shape last time she called.
posted by quince at 6:06 PM on August 3, 2014

"I was already "wigging out" a little - I didn't want to have a panic attack or something."

This, to me, qualifies as "sick." (It doesn't have to just mean puking or whatever.) So, not a white lie. You don't have to feel bad about lying if it was technically true.
posted by Brittanie at 7:20 PM on August 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Call her today, and then again in a few days, and so on until she gets it that you love her and do want to talk to her.
posted by amaire at 7:44 PM on August 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

"I was watching 'The Notebook' and crying, OK? I'm totally embarrassed but I don't want you to feel bad. [Brother] was being a dick and gave me the phone when he knew I was emotional and couldn't talk. Boy, is he a dick."

Bonus: Now "Watching 'The Notebook' is code for getting high.
posted by yellowcandy at 7:58 PM on August 3, 2014

I came in to suggest you say you we're drinking. cotton dress sock is right - it's the "no way!" tone that will have surprised and upset her, and the only thing that explains that is that you were afraid to talk to her for some reason. I'd ring asap, apologise and say you had a few too many drinks and you were afraid of her hearing you slur your words. You're feeling horrible and ashamed - this is true - and ask if you can put it behind you. But also bear in mind this is the best you can do. If she holds a grudge that's up to her, you're an adult and you accidentally hurt her feelings. It happens, you didn't do anything terribly wrong.
posted by billiebee at 12:41 AM on August 4, 2014

Don't say that you were drinking!

Why oh why oh why isn't saying, "Oh, I was feeling shitty and my brother woke me up. I was half asleep - sorry!" not sufficient? Saying that you were drunk, OP, is just going to invite more drama and judgement. Say that you had an upset stomach. Say you had a migraine. Say you had a bad cold. Whatever. This is a mountain that used to be a molehill.


A person who has done the same exact thing while high, lied about it, and everything turned out fine
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:31 AM on August 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

Without reading the other posts, I would just tell her you were feeling very ill when she called and your brother didn't understand it at the time.
posted by JimN2TAW at 11:45 AM on August 4, 2014

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