Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Dirty Dishes

Every week, Danny M. Lavery and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the dirty dishes.

Danny Lavery: Perhaps you have….contributed to the exhausting nature of this conflict in your own way!

Nicole Cliffe: oh my lord, LW

you are not living there, just drop the rope a little

Danny Lavery: “I’m admittedly a terrible listener and I constantly interrupt my brother-in-law, who for some mysterious reason is mad at me for doing his dishes, surely for no other reason, he is ruining my mental health” is….a lot


Nicole Cliffe: YUP

stop doing those things

start with that

Danny Lavery: this could have been the easiest conversation in the world

“Gotcha, I’ll leave the dishes in the sink”

Nicole Cliffe: you should not be in even unofficial mediation w your BIL you don’t live with



if your sister hates a dirty sink she can tell him

Danny Lavery: yeah I get that division of labor conflict is really hard and that generally speaking husbands don’t do their share of it

but you’ve got to let your sister handle it

Nicole Cliffe: absolutely

Danny Lavery: you can’t care about their dishes more than she does

Nicole Cliffe: To both of these

Danny Lavery: I truly believe that you are stirring up trouble unnecessarily and that you need to dial it back


unless he is calling you names or being incredibly snide to you at family gatherings, just say “Hi, Jimmy” and go talk to other people and leave him alone

Nicole Cliffe: I could not agree more

Danny Lavery: but your problem is not really that “I’m so helpful in the kitchen that my evil brother-in-law is ruining my life”


Nicole Cliffe: It so rarely is

Danny Lavery: you are not being fully honest with yourself or with me in this letter so i can’t speak in much more detail about how to resolve this conflict with your sister and her husband

but just as you’ve overreacted in the past by demanding family mediation over a few dishes, now you’re threatening to overcorrect by withdrawing from family get-togethers entirely in order to sulk


dial it back in both directions

I’m sure your brother-in-law is difficult sometimes, it’s genuinely nice of you to babysit for them, and I don’t mean to suggest you are an impossible monster. But you’re causing a huge part of the problem even in your own account!

Nicole Cliffe: That’s the thing. We have exactly the LW’s account to go on and it’s pretty clear from this.

Just try being more chill and I think it will be a beautiful trajectory for both of you.

The dishes thing is wild. It’s such an obvious situation?

With such an obvious solution.

Danny Lavery: yes!

it literally makes your life easier to stop doing the dishes per their request

Nicole Cliffe: WHAT A GIFT

“Please, don’t.”

Danny Lavery: “kk!”

/“you got it, boss”

/“will do”

Find a way to be pleasant and neutral around him. You can absolutely do it; it will be worth it for the sake of getting to see your nieces/nephews, find an outlet, write in a journal, whatever. Fin!!

Nicole Cliffe: I wish I had more to say but I am relieved that this is so simple.

Danny Lavery: it’s a nice, simple, non-life-threatening problem!