Some people like their in-laws. Some of us win the lottery, and get on with our significant other’s family just as well (if not better) than we get along with our own. For everyone else, though, getting along with the in-laws can be tough. In some cases it can be downright Herculean. If you’re not one of the blessed few who have common ground with your in-laws, then you should keep this list of tips in mind. Especially around the holidays.

5 Tips For Dealing With The In-Laws

Tip #1: Set Boundaries

This can be awkward, but sometimes the best thing to do is to sit down with your in-laws, and talk about your boundaries for you, your significant other, and any children you have. Be reasonable, and keep things light, but make sure you communicate clearly what you expect, and what you need from your in-laws. This might lead to some head-butting, especially if you have grandparents who want to spoil your little ones, but it’s also the best way to get results. Remember, you’re all adults here, and you should be able to solve things just by talking them out among yourselves.

Ideally, anyway.

Tip #2: Take Time For Yourself

If you get along well with your in-laws, then being with them might feel refreshing. Just like spending time with good friends. However, if you have to stay on your guard all the time, that can quickly sap your strength. Remember to take a break, and to catch your breath. When you feel your reserves getting low, it might be time to take a nap, go run some errands, or get lunch with some friends. Whatever you do, make sure it will relax you. The key to making sure you can deal with your in-laws is to never let the pressure get higher than you can take. That’s how fights start.

Tip #3: Prepare

An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, or so the old saying goes. When it comes to dealing with your in-laws, this is astonishingly true.

You know them. You know what causes arguments, and you know what smooths things over. So, before you spend any time with them, do some preparation. Maybe that means planning a family meal so you can all spend the evening together to start off the get-together on a high note. Maybe it means taking a day or so for yourself so you’ll be ready to handle the pressure of spending time with this part of your family. Think of it like stretching before a workout; you’re less likely to hurt yourself if you go in prepared for what’s coming.

Tip #4: Make Sure You And Your Spouse Are On The Same Page

Coping with your in-laws can be hard. Coping with them alone can be an impossible task. So make sure you sit down with your significant other, and talk about what you need from them. Don’t make it about you versus your in-laws, because that can lead to hurt feelings all around. Instead, make sure your spouse knows what you need from them, and that you both agree on how to handle certain situations. You need to be a collaborative unit, instead of working separately.

Tip #5: Don’t Take Them Personally

Your in-laws are just people. Sometimes their comments, habits, or way of being might be abrasive, or exhausting, but you need to ask when it’s being directed at you, personally, and when it’s just how they are. Because a lot of the time, it may have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. And if it’s their problem, you shouldn’t stress yourself by making it your problem.

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