Q: My husband and I attend frequent family dinners hosted by my mother-in-law and her husband. My husband is one of 4, and his step father has 2 children of his own. All of the ‘children’ are in their 30-40’s, most with a spouse and children of their own. Also, my MIL and her husband married only 5-6 years ago, so the children have not ‘grown-up’ together. We are all adults who like each other and get along well. The problem is when we attend a party or dinner, his children and their spouses greet us with kisses when saying Hello. While we appreciate the gesture of kindness, we feel like its an invasion and a little overwhelming. I personally am offended by it, I do not kiss my own family every time I see them, not does my husband’s family. A couple of times, I have given the excuse that I do not feel well, but to no avail.
What is the polite way to stop the kissing? I would hate to hurt their feelings.
A: You might consider telling one of them privately and tactful that you find the kissing awkward. You might say something along the lines of “I’m so glad we all get along so well, but I have to be honest. John [your husband] and I don’t customarily kiss our family members every time we see them. Therefore, it makes us somewhat uncomfortable. I hope you understand. If the situation were reversed I hope you would be able to be as honest with me.”