Author Topic: How to introduce my sister-in-law?  (Read 5148 times)

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camlan

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How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« on: October 26, 2012, 04:36:08 PM »
I'm overthinking this. I know I'm overthinking this, but I can't come to a conclusion.

Usually, I go to visit my sisters-in-law, the women who have married my brothers. But one of my SILs, whom I like very much, will be staying with me for a week, next month. I'm not sure what the best way to introduce her is. "My sister-in-law," or "My brother's wife."

Is one way better or worse than the other? Are they both the same? Would one way feel nicer than the other? I've never really had to introduce her to anyone; it's always the other way around. Which is the nicer, friendlier term, or are they both the same?
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Shoo

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 04:38:03 PM »
Calling her your sister-in-law is way more personal than calling her your brother's wife.  If you want to make her feel like you consider her your close family member, call her your sister-in-law. 

TurtleDove

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 04:38:36 PM »
I tend to think "sister-in-law" sounds warmer than "brother's wife."  Sister in law shows her relationship to YOU as opposed to your brother. Oops!  Posted at the same time as Shoo.

lowspark

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 04:41:36 PM »
POD. Another vote for "sister-in-law". And then say her name.

"This is my sister-in-law, Mary. Mary, I'd like you to meet my friend, Susan."
or something like that.

Two Ravens

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 04:47:38 PM »
I agree with calling her your sister-in-law. If you want to add more information, you can always add it. "This is my sister-in-law June. She's married to my younger brother Tommy"

Judah

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2012, 04:54:41 PM »
I agree with the others.  Introducing her as "my brothers wife" sounds like you are trying to put distance between the tow of you; her relationship to you is through your brother. On the other hand, referring to her as "my sister-in-law" makes the relationship  closer because you're relating her to yourself.
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whatsanenigma

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 04:54:44 PM »
I'm going to disagree just slightly here and say that there might be some cases where "brother's wife" is more appropriate, such as if you have more than one brother and there might be confusion about whose wife she is.  "I'd like you to meet my brother Jim's wife, Mary" as opposed  to your brother John's wife, that kind of thing.  Or if the person you are talking to is an old friend of your brother who has been out of touch with him for a while.  You could say "You remember my brother Jim, don't you? I'd like to introduce you to his wife, Mary."

But even then, you could probably work both references into the introduction.  Something like "Susan, I'd like you to meet my brother Jim's new wife.  Mary, this is my friend Susan.  Susan, this is my sister in law Mary".

Because overall, I agree, "sister in law" sounds much warmer than "brother's wife".  But I wouldn't make any negative assumptions about someone who did refer to such a person as "brother's wife" or about their relationship, especially if there is any chance of the "brother" part needing to come first for clarity's sake, so I wouldn't worry too much about what phrase happens to pop out of your mouth.  :) 

Sharnita

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 04:56:40 PM »
yeah, if you have more than one brother I can see saying "This is Mary, Jim's wife"

Jones

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 05:00:18 PM »
I have several brothers, but only one SIL, and she currently lives with me. (Well, DH has two half sisters too, I barely know one and never met the other so...)

I introduce her as my SIL and then, if it comes up, mention she's married to my brother T.

Roses

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 05:17:43 PM »
I use sister-in-law as it seems warmer and clarifies MY relationship with this person as opposed to my brothers. 

Audrey Quest

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 05:24:41 PM »
It doesn't matter either way.  Your SIL can also be your husband's sister or your husband's brother's wife. Clarifying it is fine.

You can combine it as "My sister-in-law, my brother's wife."
 
I visit my husband's brother and his wife from time to time and its complicated because I can't say "my sister and brother-in-law's place"  because she's not my sister.  She is my sister-in-law and he is my brother-in-law.  Saying it either way has nothing to do with the closeness of our relationship which frankly, is no one else's business.

But, I clarify who they are so that other people don't get confused about how many sisters I have or brothers that I don't.

Dindrane

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 05:41:38 PM »
Usually, when I hear people habitually refer to a by-marriage relative as "[Relative]'s Wife/Husband," it's because the relationship isn't close, and may even be acrimonious. Without other context, using that phrase to refer to an in-law can make people think that you don't much like the person.

I think it's mostly because of the spin the specific language puts on the relationship. Calling someone your sister-in-law says that you think of her as at least similar to a sibling, even if she's not one you grew up with and therefore isn't quite the same as your actual siblings. Calling someone your brother's wife is basically saying you personally have no relationship to her at all.

However, using the term "my brother's wife" or similar in a context that involves explaining which brother she is married to, or perhaps that she is your brother's wife and not your husband's sister, is an entirely different kettle of fish. That comes off as a neutral statement of fact, rather than any sort of statement about the relationship itself. I personally have three sisters-in-law, two of whom are actually my husband's sisters, so I do sometimes say "my brother's wife" or "my husband's sister" if it's important for someone to know the specific details of the relationship. When it's not, I just say "my sister-in-law" and call it good.


AlansGirl

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2012, 01:37:11 AM »
I'm in favor of clarity whenever more clarity can be conveniently mentioned, so I'd tend to say, "This is my sister-in-law Sandra, my younger brother Bob's wife" or "...my sister-in-law Lily, my husband's older sister."   I kind of agree with what others have posted about one introduction being less friendly than another, but I would tend to go more toward familiarity and explanation than otherwise because I have a lot of good, otherwise close friends that introduce me to people in rather a vacuum:  "Oh, yeah, this is my brother."  Well, that's nice, what should I call him, should I want to?  Which of the brothers might this be? 

Or I get, "Hey, I know you'll have tons in common, you both [whatever interest] so I can't wait for you to meet Karen!" - and Karen might be whom?  Friend, stepmom, half-sister, co-worker, sister-in-law?  In a way I don't need to know 100 years of family dynamics and changes and so in a way it doesn't matter, but while 'Karen' might be perfectly nice and friendly, it's nice to know where she fits into the overall family /friend framework.  That way, one minimizes the chance of inadvertent mis-step or insult.

sparksals

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2012, 02:50:17 AM »
Calling her your sister-in-law is way more personal than calling her your brother's wife.  If you want to make her feel like you consider her your close family member, call her your sister-in-law.


POD... my MIL introduces me as her son's wife.  It seems so impersonal to me and DIL would sound more like part of the family.

NyaChan

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Re: How to introduce my sister-in-law?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2012, 04:29:56 AM »
I would start with her name, then follow with her relationship with you.  Probably over-thinking it, but it seems to me the most important part is identifying her as a person and then the next important part is clarifying who she is to you.

Hi SoAndSo, this is Mary, my sister-in-law.