questionsis it selfish to not want to go to a "destination…

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@wisenekt: Haha, no.

Update, more than a month later:
We had Thanksgiving at her regular house; it was fine. I've promised to go to the vacation home next year.

As expected, I've learned I'm not really going to be invited there any other time, so I'm really not feeling much guilt. :)

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@curli76: Any chance that she has a "big announcement" that she wants to share and wants the whole family there for it?

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It's not selfish at all to recognize that you need some time to yourself to recharge when you're feeling burnt out. It's more selfish to ignore your own needs, because being burnt out will have effects on you, your dog, your colleagues, your family...

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Whether or not you're selfish is a matter of your motives - and here it sounds like you've tried to think through the possibilities, and it just isn't going to work. I don't think you're being selfish, you're being realistic. Now if they start bending over backwards ("Bring your pet along, I'll pick you up on our way out") then things might start getting stickier, but that also means the situation has changed drastically and it's time to reassess.

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Just piping in to agree that it's your sister being selfish, not you. While there's nothing wrong with her wanting her perfect Thanksgiving exactly the way she envisions it, it's unreasonable of her to assume her dream needs to be the whole family's. If she really wants to "work it out," it's up to her to line all her ducks in a row, including figuring out how you will get there & back in one day.

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I would ask for a "rain check" then cash it in when it's better for you. You are not being selfish by doing this. IMHO your sister wants to show off her new vacation home, but you can see it at a more convenient time.

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It would be a shame if you came down with the "flu" on Wed.

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You aren't being unreasonable. Try this:
"Sister, I love you and would love to spend time with you. But this holiday won't work out. It's too far for me and I can't make it work. Have a great Thanksgiving dinner."

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Offer to Skype with them at the dinner table. Some one can set a "place" for you at the dinner table with a laptop or tablet propped on a stool.
You can "be there" with everyone for the meal (you can feast on whatever YOU fix), enjoy the conversation and neither you nor your furry friend have to bother wearing pants.
Best of all, you can bail out when you've had enough of family time.
This idea offers you the opportunity to visit with family without having to break your budget or spend time worrying about if you'll make it back home on time.
If your sister REALLY wants family harmony and it not to be all about HER perfect Martha Stewart holiday, she'll think this is a workable option.

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I don't think they are being selfish. It's not like they are offering to come pick you up and have your pet come as well.

I would just use the "it is a very long ways away" excuse.

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I believe the holidays are whatever you want them to be, but the one thing that they should be is HAPPY. Don't let someone guilt or peer pressure you into making yourself miserable ... there's plenty of time for that during the rest of the year.

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Pffft! My best friend invited us to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner. She lives four hours away. Our budget won't really handle a night or two of hotel, our dogs are elderly and don't board well, and I really want to go.

So we'll drive there, enjoy dinner and visit, and then drive home again. We've done the same for years with my sister, who lives three hours away. It's doable, if you want to. If you don't want to, well, then the "it's too long a day for us" is a perfect excuse.

And no, you're not being selfish.

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I was going to second the notion to drive yourself, but if that's not an option...

If you did want to go, is bringing the pet with you an option?

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@moondrake: Renting a car is not an option. I haven't driven a car more than a few blocks in years. I'm a city girl.

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I don;t see any problem with skipping it, but then I skip lots of family events. My family lives 650 miles away, which is a good distance for me. But is there a possibility of renting a car so you can go up there and come back on your own schedule? You could rent it as an overnight rental but that doesn't mean you have to stay overnight at your sister's place.

I definitely understand the petsitter issue. It's expensive and hard to schedule. I pass on plenty of activities because they aren't pet friendly and I can't get a sitter.

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@gmwhit: Thanks, that's the thing. While I admit I'm not the most tactful person, I told her VERY politely why it wouldn't work for me and that next year, with a little more notice, I might be able to make it. And she just keeps saying she wants to "work it out." She doesn't get that the only way to "work it out" is for me to not go.

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It doesn't matter if you or your sister are 'being selfish.' If you do not wish to go, thank your sister for her invitation & graciously decline. If she wants to know why, tell her about your pet, the difficulty w/transportation or tell her nothing at all. You do not need to justify your decision.

Please do not feel obligated to do something you do not wish to do. And, have a delightful Thanksgiving...wherever you may be!!

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Your sister is being a little unreasonable here.

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@jjkehoe: The deal is go up for the entire weekend and get a ride back with my parents on Sunday or stay 1 night and then take an alleged bus several hours; the bus comes about once per day, and if I miss it I'm screwed. (And it's a real possibility, seeing as how they don't know the area yet and I'm sure they'd try to guilt me into staying longer anyway.)

I should note that I commute an hour each way on a bus every day to work (often waiting in long lines at the bus station) and my idea of a vacation is not spending more time on one.

I just. . . don't want to be there. If he regular house was that far away, I'd get it, but it isn't. I will see her other times this year. I understand that she has this new vacation house she wants to use, but I have this grungy 1-bedroom apartment I'd like to use.

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I agree with @omnichad, your sister is being selfish if she unilaterally decided this is how Thanksgiving's going to be this year and is going to be whiny if everyone doesn't shut up and go along. It's also pretty selfish if she's not acknowledging that you can't just magically make pet care happen.

I'm not quite clear on whether you have the option to go up just for Thanksgiving afternoon/evening, or if the deal is that you'd be stuck there all weekend. If it's the latter, I think you're just fine in skipping this one.

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Who's the one being selfish? Your sister - why does it need to be at this far away place?