8 Tips for Managing Difficult in-Laws ...


8 Tips for Managing Difficult in-Laws ...
8 Tips for Managing Difficult in-Laws ...

Managing your in-laws isn't exactly easy. I'm extremely lucky, because I absolutely adore Heather's mother and father to no end and she adores mine. Of course, there are also brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts-in-law, and grandfathers-in-law to consider. Remember, whether your mother-in-law rubs you the wrong way or you can't get along with your sister-in-law to save your life, managing your in-laws takes all forms. The thing is, these people are your family now. You don't have to be besties, but you want things to be cordial. If you ever have any in-law issues, hopefully these tips will help.

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Be Cordial but Don't Kiss up

If you know for a fact that you don't, won't, and simply can't get along with your in-laws, that's actually okay. Like I mentioned, you never have to be BFFs. That being said, when you're thrown together for special events, holidays, family occasions, and similar get-togethers, keep things cordial but never, ever kiss up in an attempt to get a difficult in-law to like you. That just casts shade on your integrity, and it's not worth it. You'll seem disingenuous and insincere, you'll feel dirty, and your in-law will probably know you don't really feel so saccharine. The secret to managing your in-laws is striking a balancing act. If you're polite and courteous, you're being the bigger person.


Vent to Your Spouse (but Don't Talk Smack)

There are some exceptions to this rule, but let me preface this by saying that you should never rant to your spouse or partner about how his mom's a bitch or her dad's a jerk. For the most part, parents are off-limits, because talking crap is just disrespectful. If they do something that really annoys you, feel free to vent, but keep it respectful by remembering that your spouse likely loves his or her parents and doesn't need to be placed in the middle of a family feud. That's just not fair! But the exception? If your spouse dislikes his sister's husband or your partner doesn't like her brother's girlfriend and you feel the same, vent together. Just make sure you keep it private.


Avoid Controversial Situations

There are certain situations you can't avoid, like holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. If you know that there's some tension, however, during some casual Sunday dinner or a barbecue, feel free to take a pass. You can even send your spouse in your stead, that way he or she gets to spend time with the family but you won't be adding to any stressful situations.


Stay Smart on Social Media

Social media can be the bane of your existence when it comes to delicate family matters. You might have a sister-in-law who takes everything you say personally, even if it's not about her, or an in-law who likes to bait you with Facebook posts or generally cause drama. Just stay out of it and don't play into it. You don't need to censor yourself either, although you should never air your dirty laundry either directly or indirectly in such a public forum. If you have to, take advantage of those handy privacy settings and friends lists, to keep a troublesome in-law from seeing certain posts.


Set Beneficial Boundaries

While you don't want to have some big, dramatic confrontation, you need to feel free to set boundaries. For instance, if you have to let your father-in-law know that you don't need financial advice or tell a brother-in-law that you aren't comfortable with him stopping by your house all the time or pulling you into drama with his wife, do so. Sometimes you have to put your foot down, even if it makes you uncomfortable.


Have a Direct Conversation

One of the best ways to set boundaries and to clear the air is to have a direct conversation. Notice I said conversation, not confrontation. If you have an in-law who disrespects you, treats you badly, or oversteps his or her boundaries, you have to talk to them about it. However, while doing so, stay calm and courteous – even if your in-law doesn't. Cooler heads prevail, and if things get incendiary, it won't be due to your behavior.


Strike a Balance between Honesty and Tact

Sometimes there really is a fine line between total honesty and tact. You have to find the balance and keep it at all costs. Just because you think your brother-in-law runs his mouth way too much or your mother-in-law tries to have too much input into how you raise your children doesn't mean that you should unleash your uncensored opinion. However, you can let your BIL know that you aren't going to discuss certain things or tell your MIL that you appreciate her advice and that you'll absolutely ask her for help when you need it.


Know when to Keep Things Superficial

Unfortunately, sometimes none of these tactics work. Sometimes you're faced with an in-law who simply does not want to get along with you either, but isn't willing to meet you halfway. When that happens, know when it give it up as a loss and keep things superficial. A generic Christmas card, a happy birthday wish on Facebook, a casual family dinner when you're in town, and that's it. You're done. You don't have to be friends, you don't have to share secrets, and you don't have to go out of your way, as long as you keep it polite on your end and walk away when you simply can't be courteous any longer.

Sometimes, in finding the love of your life, you wind up related to people with whom you just can't get along. You can still make the best of a not so great situation without having to kowtow or avoid your new family. Stand strong, set boundaries, and be cordial even when you can't exactly be friendly. Do you have any in-law stories you'd like to share? Vent about your brother-in-law's wife or rave about your amazing mother-in-law, we'd love to hear it all!

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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

loved this article, totally needed it and it gave me the best advice. thank you so much., your words are golden

Where was this article three months ago before we got separated?! Lol

Well, I do not like my sister-s husband and sometimes I even hated him. He can be sarcastic to my mother , who helps them a lot. He is a bit  of a misanthrope but in a negative way.Apart from that, I am 100% per cent sure he is homosexual... well, I do not mind that but He has been recently father to an adorable girl and I could notice very clear how his atittude to fatherhood diid not measure up...I am sure he did not want to be a father but he just played along with my sister-s whim who is not very content with her role as a mother either , she obviously loves her child. Both are selfish..... I have never managed to hate someone so much as now....I really sympathize parents who do not like their inlaws.... My mother is a very generous woman and says she loves her child and does everything for her......... well, I have struggled a lot with my feelings..I tell my therapist about them many times...sometimes I have thought of breaking up with them if my mother dies before me in a very distant  I hope future, but I have reached the conclusion that the best thing you can do is falsely get along with them for the sake of nephews and nieces, and even to keep in contact with your brothers or sisters , in my case, it is my sisters husband....... It is the only way out.....I do not have children nor will I have..so it will be easier on this part and well, we will not keep in touch a lot........I guess and they will end up by loving their daughter properly once they get used to parenting roles....................... so my personal advice is MAKE AN EFFORT AND SWALLOW THEM...........PARTICULARLY IF THERE ARE CHILDREN INVOLVED.

Great article! Need one on an shit talking/hating ass sister in law cause I really can't stand mine!!!

My sister in law had a baby later afternoon this Saturday. I was never told she was in labour or even that she went to the Hospital Saturday. I was going to another city seeing my husband at 4:30 Saturday. I was never told anything. I was hurt as I allowed her into the delivery room with me. If she didn't want me there, she could have let me know, me know. My husband was also at fault as he wanted me to go and see him so he chose not to tell me. How do I handle this situation? P.S.: she had a baby girl. I have 5 and she has 1. She's getting a lot of attention from her brother at this point too(my husband). I've already told him that he sounds more excited about this baby then his own. He didn't say much

Or in my case keep no communication what do ever n don't visit n don't talk to them...

My sister in law totally avoids me, yet keeps in constant contact with my adult daughter. She visits her often, they do things together and yes I am very jealous that I am never invited. My reaction is said to be ridiculous but my relationship with my daughter has deteriorated because of it. My husband is now terminally ill, and having to deal with all of it is almost unbearable. She has blocked me from facebook after I approached her after seeing hundreds of photos of SIL, her daughter an my daughter traveling, site seeing and was told it was none of my business and I need to see a shrink. The hurt is indescribable. I think it is a simple matter of if she apologized for inadvertently excluding me or hurting my feelings, she would fee it is an admission of wrong doing. Shame on all of them. It is if my daughter has two families, this one and my husband's sister's family.

Such perfect timing for this article! Thanks.

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