Not all in-laws are evil. That's the good news. The not-so-good news, though, is that most in-laws can be annoying. If you happen to be married to another person whose parents or siblings are intrusive and who hold scathing opinions about you, you may want to know how to deal with them so that you can keep your sanity, keep your cool, and not let your self-esteem be marred by ignorant fools.
One way, but not the only way, to deal with annoying in-laws is to ignore them. Tread carefully when you decide to go this route because you will lose an opportunity to relate with your in-laws in a human and humane way. As a matter of fact, start ignoring your in-laws only when you have exhausted all other means to make them treat you in a more courteous and dignified way.
- Set Boundaries. This is something that you do not do on your own at all. Instead, this is something that you and your spouse need to agree with. But, before you do, both of you must understand that your main priority is your marriage. If either one of you cannot keep that as a priority, what are you in marriage for anyway? When you set boundaries, dwell only on the essentials such as your children's welfare. Food preferences are generally petty issues, but for some certain cases (as in food allergies), they can be real issues.
- Know Your In-Laws. Ask your spouse to orient you about the varieties of personalities that his or her family members have. The more you know about them, the better you can choose how to respond to their annoying behavior, and the better you can understand them.
- Hear Their Rants. Most in-laws just want you to hear what they are saying without actually caring whether you're listening or not. It gives them an illusion of having "influence" over you. By acknowledging that you heard them, you can actually make them stop blabbing. You don't even have to agree with what they say.
- Temper Your Temper. This is quite a challenge for anyone. Self-restraint and self-control, especially at the height of provocation, is a gift that not everyone develops enough of. But, you can bite your tongue and count to ten before you start opening your mouth and lashing back at your in-law. It may also help if you politely excuse yourself, go outside, take a deep breath of fresh air, and let the sparks or little flames dissipate before they turn into a raging conflagration.
- Use Monosyllables. One-word syllables are often quite effective in letting the other person know that you hear what is being said but that you choose not to respond. There's wisdom in not responding in certain situations.
- Use the Power of Smiling. There are many occasions when your in-laws will verbally fire at you just for the heck of it. If you know how to detach yourself from that kind of circumstance and choose to view it as a humorous occasion where your in-laws are the butt of their own jokes, then you will be able to just smile at them and shrug your shoulders thereafter.
Next time you meet your in-laws and you can't avoid their annoying behavior, you can try the tips suggested in this article so that you can enjoy the moment with your spouse, kids, and your other non-annoying in-laws.