DEAR ABBY: My older sister visits me every week to play cards and chat. While I love her dearly and enjoy her visits, sometimes I do not appreciate one topic she brings up.
We are on different ends of the political spectrum. Although I never initiate a conversation about the candidate she voted for in the last election, she never misses an opportunity to debase my choice for the same office. It's distressing, and I nearly cried the last time she made a derogatory remark about him. When she doesn't bring up politics, we have a wonderful time. Why does she do this? Is she clueless about how much this bothers me? I am a quiet person who doesn't like confrontation or making others feel bad, so I generally just nod my head or listen without saying anything. I sometimes dread seeing her because I never know if she is going to bring up politics. Do you have a polite, nonconfrontational way of making her stop? -- OPPOSITE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR OPPOSITE: Yes, I do: Quit nodding your head and establish some ground rules with Sissy. Tell her that you love her company but that the pejorative political comments must stop. Make clear that you want politics off the table when she visits because the subject is so upsetting, and that if she cannot comply, you will be seeing her less often. Period! Standing up for yourself is not being confrontational. You are long overdue for that brief chat. If you cannot do this, then stop blaming her, and be prepared for more -- much more -- of the same.