Getting Along with Relatives.
( ***I should have published this around the holidays. When families get together)
You can’t choose them.
They came with the packaged deal of birth and marriage.
Those strange people that are your family or extended family, sometimes cause more problems than strangers do.
But you have to gather with them at times like it or not. Holidays, weddings and the like are all occasions that you have to endure and live through.
So how do you get along with those you are supposed to love and cherish?
Here are a few hints.
Show sincere interest.
Ask questions. Show that you’re really interested. Even if you have no idea of what they are talking about. Be sincere.
Have one on one time.
Sit down with your family. Take some one on one time. Just being in close proximity can go a long way in easing tensions. Lean in, make eye contact.
Maybe you don’t care for their favorite sports team. Maybe you dislike their political views. Show that you care and support their likes and passions. Disagree without hurt. Be calm and keep calm.
See what’s underneath the tension.
What’s driving your relative? What is coming up from the past that has caused this opinion? What events caused this view?
Do some digging. It shows you care and releases a lot of tension and strife.
Give respect and dignity.
OK so you can’t stand what someone in the family has said. It’s a free country they do have a right.
Respect their view. Give them the dignity they deserve for their opinion.
Take a deep breath. Take another one.
Concentrate on common experiences.
What do you have in common. Talk about those things. Teams, TV shows, favorite places or foods. Steer the conversation away from the contention.
Even you can’t get away from the topic, find a place where you both can agree.
OK, here is something to consider.
Maybe you need some self-reflection. Could you be the person that nobody in the family can deal with? Are you the one folks are avoiding?
Sobering as that might be, you have to consider that you might need to change.
Frank J Walker LMFT
1617 Main Street
Cambria, Ca. 93428
Frank’s books are available @