We all laughed at Ben Stiller’s struggle to remain in his fiancé’s father’s “circle of trust” in the hilarious film Meet the Parents, but it’s hard to find the comedy of fighting with your own in-laws. Sure, we get to choose the person we marry, but unfortunately for us, we aren’t able to pick their parents. Not everyone’s father-in-law is a retired CIA agent, but in-laws are almost always tough to deal with. The next time you have to deal with the family of someone you love, try to remember these tips:
1. Don’t complain to your partner: The last thing you want to do is accidently insult one of your partner’s family members. Family is family, and even if you are just venting, you don’t want your significant other to feel like you’re making them pick sides. By talking to a relative or friend in your support system instead, you’ll be able to get your feelings off your chest without hurting anyone in the process.
2. Be honest, mostly: Be clear about your needs in order to settle disagreements, but don’t be too firm by telling your mother-in-law that she needs to stop calling so much. This may be true, but that straightforwardness can easily be taken the wrong way. To be safe, say enough to get your point across without going too far.
3. Arrange a family trip: A lot of the time, actions speak louder than words, which is especially true when it comes to feuding. If you can’t reach a compromise by communicating, it’s probably time for some family bonding. Taking a mini-vacation with the family shows that your relationship is more important than your issues. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some time away from home.