6 Tips For Getting Along With Difficult Family Members
For some, the very idea of a family get-together can make the blood run cold. You may find yourself anxiously counting the days 'til a holiday party, or watching the clock during Sunday dinner, just waiting for the arguments to start. It's kinda sad, but not everyone gets along with their family.
Of course there are different levels of "getting along." You may not share the same views as your parents, but you still love them. And your sister may drive you crazy, but you still hang out with her every weekend. However when things get really bad — and cross into toxic territory — you may start to question if certain family members should even be in your life at all.
Cutting ties with family is a drastic decision, and if you come to it, that's OK. For lesser cases, it's possible to keep your family in your life, but in much smaller doses. This is so much easier when you live apart from them. That's when you have some real options about who you see and when. It is possible, though, to still control your interactions with family even when you live with them — it'll just take a little more self-control.
So regardless of your living situation, you can't let annoying family members drag you down. If they are, learn to deal with their craziness in the best way possible with these tips.
1. Limit The Time You Spend With Them
If your family is always in your life, and it's totally bringing you down, then start setting up some boundaries. Make it clear they can only visit on Sundays, or just during the holidays. Do whatever's best for you and keeps you sane.
2. Count To 10 When They Say Something Horrible
If your grandma is spewing some old-school opinions that make you cringe, count to 10 before you have a reaction. When people are stuck in their ways to that degree, there's really no point in arguing, or driving yourself crazy with rage. Instead, take a deep breath and wait for the emotions to pass.
3. Be Ridiculously Polite
Sometimes family members like to pick on each other for the sake of getting a rise. When that's the case, there is no winning. The madder you get, the happier they are. (Mean, I know.) So why not take away their fun the way you would with an elementary school bully? All you have to do is totally ignore them, or be over-the-top polite, and soon they'll lose interest in bugging you.
4. Use Family Members You Do Like As A Buffer
If you don't get along with a family member, then do your best to avoid spending time with them one-on-one. For example, if you don't get along with your dad, then make sure your mom is always around as a buffer when it's time to hang out. Don't put your mom in the middle, of course. But having a third person around may help take some of the pressure off.
5. Distract Them With A Chore
If your family is coming for a visit, and you're full of dread, never fear. All you have to do to keep the drama to a minimum is give them all something to do — especially if there's one in particular who really grinds your gears. Give that cranky uncle or dramatic sister of yours a chore, such as setting the table, or walking the dog. If they're busy with something, and feel included in some way, then hopefully they'll be less likely to cause a problem.
6. Look At Things From Their Perspective
Sometimes it helps to figure out why people act the way they do. Maybe you've never been close with your dad because he wasn't close with his dad. It doesn't make it any easier, but it may be a small comfort to see where he's coming from.
Hopefully you can respect your family and be polite. However nothing says they have to be a part of your life. If you're family is toxic, or you simply don't get along, then don't feel bad about setting up some boundaries.