Every week, Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Excluding family: My family and my sister’s family are planning a beach house vacation this summer. We have two other siblings whom we would prefer not to invite.
Our two families have vacationed together in the past, so this would not be unprecedented, but in the past we invited the siblings to drop in for one or two days, rather than the whole stay, so that they feel included. This summer we’d rather just keep things simple, but we are not sure how to best handle the situation.
We don’t intend to publicize that we are going without the sibs, but after the fact there will certainly be photos or other evidence that the trip took place, and feelings might be hurt. Is there any graceful way to handle the situation that doesn’t involve inviting the sibs? If we choose not to invite them, does that make us bad siblings?
A: Go on your vacation! Everyone is allowed to break with tradition once in a while, and you can gently inoculate your other siblings against the news by casually mentioning that your family and your sister’s family have a trip coming up that you’re excited about. Don’t treat it like a secret with the potential to hurt their feelings, and they’ll likely follow your lead. If group vacations are important to the rest of your family, they are always free to organize their own and to invite you. Have a great time.