Make It Stop: Should I Tell My Brother His New Girlfriend Sucks?

Should I tell my younger brother “Sean” that I think his new girlfriend “Jasmine” sucks? They’ve only been dating for a few months and I’ve met her three times. Each time we hung out, she doesn’t engage with me at all. When she wasn’t scrolling through her cell phone, she looked bored and uninterested in anything me or my brother said. He keeps asking me what I think about her and I’ve been vague, but I’m tempted to just say she has the personality of a crusty oven mitt. What should I do?

Definitely don’t say she has the personality of a crusty oven mitt! Even though that’s a hilarious phrase, I can’t imagine that’d go over well with your brother.

Your opinion clearly means a lot to Sean. But, unfortunately, no one wants to hear that their new sweetie is a dud.

Before you condemn her, is it possible he’s seen a side to her you haven’t? Maybe when she’s not looking bored in your company, she volunteers at a hospital or animal shelter? Maybe what you interpret as boredom or disinterest is really her limited social skills, and it turns out she’s an introvert who shines better when she’s one-on-one than in group situations?

Of course if she were abusive or had other serious red flags, I’d encourage you to tell him to reconsider the relationship. But from what you’ve told me, her only crime has been a personality that reminds you of lukewarm oatmeal.

It’s hard when someone close to you chooses to date a crusty oven mitt, as you put it, but your instincts are correct. Just because he’s asking for your honest opinion doesn’t mean he wants to hear it. That’s what tact means; discerning between the two.

If he continues to push for your two cents, you could say something like, “As long as she makes you happy, that’s all I care about.” It’s both true and kind. It’s perfectly okay to not elaborate further. He’ll either pick up what your lack of enthusiasm really means, or he’ll drop it, both good outcomes for you.

My hunch is their relationship will run its course soon enough. Between his eagerness to get your approval and her immaturity, this sounds like a young couple. Do your best to tolerate her in small doses, and if she continues to annoy you, vote with your feet and leave the room.

Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected] with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.