Dear Miss Emily:

I'm an adult woman.  My parents and my brother believe that if someone has something (they believe) is important to say to me, I am obligated to listen.  I politely asked that the subject be changed, but was told I was being disrespectful for not listening.  So I offered to read whatever it was they wanted to say, and this to was rejected.  If anything, they are disrespecting my boundaries.  What do you think?
Falling On Deaf Ears

--------------------------------Miss Emily’s advice---------------------------

Dear Falling:

You had me up until offering to read what it is that they want to say.  In my opinion, that is a tad arrogant and a demeaning approach, but I see your point.  If it’s a subject that is controversial or a personal attack, you have every right to  tell someone that you don’t wish to go there, especially when opinions are warranted (and you don’t want to offer one), or you are put in a position to be defensive.  Some people are going to be offended no matter how you approach it, but it also boils down to the way you want to be perceived by others.  There is no reason to be a pushover and be forced to listen to every blowhard and bore that crosses your path, and who thinks his or her opinion is god sent.  But it is polite to listen and appear interested in most cases.  It’s a social grace that can be finely tuned if you care to put the time into it.  A tactful, thoughtful response will not set you up to be a sucker for verbal abuse, and you will not be mistaken for a royal bitch.