BG: My brother and I are quite close. My brother is also on very good terms with my husband, though my husband keeps a bit more distance (which will become more understandable in this post). 1-2 months ago, my brother called my DH with a question; he was discussing the salary of a job and the terms for a new job he had accepted. It was his first job as a developer in the IT field, as he had just finished his degree (age 31, has been musician before). He asked my DH what his salary was (DH has worked for 6-7 years as a consultant test manager). My DH said that it was personal information, and that he wouldn't share it. He did give a basic indication of what starters in his field earned though. My brother completely failed to understand why my DH wouldn't share that information and pushed for a bit, but my DH didn't give in. My brother emailed my DH later, explaining again that he didn't understand why my DH wouldn't share it, they are so close, it's not like there is any damage can be done by sharing that information so there is no reason to guard it like that, it's not like he asked for details of our sexlife - etcetera. Long story short - he took the refusal to share this information as a personal rejection. (end BG)
So today I went to my brothers graduation ceremony, and we had dinner at a restaurant afterwards. DH was not with me, he had to work. During the dinner, my brother opened the topic again, asking for my opinion on what DH did. In hindsight, maybe I should have said 'I'm with my DH on this one but you shouldn't discuss it with me, but with him', but I didn't (habits die hard). I tried to explain to my brother that he should have recognised the boundary there, and have stopped at that, and that the mail was out of line. My brother reasons that he is free to express his opinion. The argument dragged on and he kept pushing how it was not normal not to want to share such information (everybody does it! All my friends think that this position is stupid! Why does your husband do this?). And before I know I'm trying to calm him down and assure him that it's not personal.
It's not the first time DH and brother collided like that, and that my brother tries to discuss it at great lengths with me (and others), looking for validation of his points. I think it's also because my DH won't pat my brother on the back every time to assure him it's not personal, but just takes his (reasonable!) stance and lets my brother boil like mad if he choses to do so. I really ought to do the same.
I know it's going to be hard, because I know my brother will take that as a personal rejection too when I will not want to discuss such things with him ('but I should be able to talk about anything with my sister because we're so close!'). But next time I'll just hand him my DH's phone number and tell him to call DH if it bothers him so much.
My brother is mostly a sweet person btw, so it's not something I would wan't to break contact over. He does need puppy training though :p in the form of no. I can't make him respect other's viewpoints and opinions, but stopping discussing them may be a good start.
Does anyone else have such family members? How do you handle them? Any tips on how to deflect him in the future?