They can be loud. They can be invasive. They are, let’s face it, often annoying. You want to be the nicest and friendliest host in town, but you have boundaries. There are lines that need to be drawn with new family after marriage, but where do you start? Here are a few things you can do to bridge the gap and claim your own individual life without the prodding parents or snobby siblings. If you are perfectly content and cozy with your in-laws, read no further. However, if you are looking for a little peace, read on.
1. Go to the link
Talk to your spouse if you are married or your married sibling whose spouse is causing the trouble. Believe it or not, he or she may be totally oblivious or unaware of your uncomfortable situation. This is the first person you need to talk to before saying or doing anything to solve the problem. Explain to him that his siblings or spouse often push themselves into your lives too much, or tell her that her parents can’t just swing by whenever they want. Communicate with the person who should help you the most.
2. Have your spouse or married sibling be the middle man
This may sound tricky and a little bit uncomfortable, but the only way a solution will be reached is to have him talk directly to his siblings. If your spouse asks for your help with in-law relationships, help. You may not fully understand the problem, but you are much closer to your family than he is, so your line of communication is vital.
3. Use verbal methods, not electronic
The slowest and most painful way to solve family problems is via email, Facebook, or any other technological device. Harsh texts or lengthy messages won’t solve things. Tone and intentions can be misconstrued. If you want to fix a problem, face it — literally.
4. Fix the problem immediately, or close to it
. If you are at a party or gathering and notice the bothersome behavior in the moment, address it. Speak to them privately and calmly. Remind your in-law that you have your own life and make your own choices. Try to get the message across that it’s none of their business, but do so carefully. And never try to embarrass them in public.
5. Avoid gossip
Speaking negatively to other family members about a certain aunt or cousin will not help anything. Word spreads in families almost as fast as the speed of light, so don’t drop details of the drama to anyone.
6. Stay calm
Raising voices or storming away won’t solve any issues. If it is a small annoyance that is working you up, speak to your spouse and find a way to love your in-law. Stay away from anger or resentment.
This is your new family, and hopefully you are happy about spending a lifetime with them. Be happy and remember that some things won’t matter a year from now. Be the better person and learn to love the little things. Your relationships will only get better as you invest more love and time with these new strangers you call family.