How to Break the Ice with Your In-laws
How to Get Along with Your In-laws
It is hard for a young bride to adjust to her relatively new home. However, we should not forget, the groom, too, has his share of difficulties adjusting to his newly acquired family. Living up to be the ideal son-in-law/daughter-in-law is difficult, but these pointers will help make things easier.
Meeting Your In-laws for the First Time
It’s a whole new life and an entirely new experience for a young couple meeting their in-laws for the very first time. It can be daunting enough to have people look at you as an outsider when you first step into the house. To top it all, your wild thoughts drift to Charlotte from Monster-in-Law, trying her best to impress her mother-in-law, or to Greg from Meet the Parents struggling to make an impression. But hey, you may not always feel like an outsider; your in-laws may be pretty welcoming too. Meeting with in-laws can be scary, but it really doesn’t have to be so. The impending meeting can surely give you mild anxiety attacks to nausea, depending on your temperament.
Most of you must be well acquainted with the saying, “Curiosity Kills the Cat,” but in this case, being curious enough to know more about your in-laws takes you a step closer to being acquainted with them. Ask your spouse or partner about their family, inquire about their likes and dislikes, hobbies, and interests. Make a mental note about their respective preferences; it will help you when you actually meet them face to face or help you decide on some gift ideas. Having a base knowledge of their philosophy of life and their approach aids you in deciding your approach to them. Prevent the foot-in-mouth syndrome by being aware of their tastes, their passions, and their preferences.
Create a Good First Impression
First impressions are most often the last impressions, and getting people to change their impression of you is a rather slow and tedious process. When you first step into their house or they step into yours, impress them by being yourself. Your spouse fell in love with you for who you are, and there is quite a possibility that his/her parents will follow suit. Being yourself is the best way to create a lasting impression on your in-laws. Being fake is always a major put-off and can result in rubbing your intentions the bad way. Needless to say, you should dress appropriately, avoid any skin show, and yes, do not forget to put on your best behavior.
Imagine how it feels to be a fish out of the water, struggling to hang on to your dear life; you can avoid such sticky situations by showing interest in the conversation going on around you. Please get to know your in-laws by starting conversations with them on topics that interest them. As I mentioned earlier, research will help you know their likes and dislikes to aid you in your conversations. It is best to discuss a few topics with your spouse before you meet up with your in-laws. Show interest in conversations that deal with their family history, their experiences, and childhood memories. Listen empathetically to what they are saying, and be a part (not a part) of their conversation.
Be open to suggestions, opinions, views, and thoughts of your in-laws. Keeping your ego aside and welcoming them into your life is a great achievement by itself. Do not expect to build an instant bond with all of your spouse’s family, but it is worth giving it a try and making them feel at ease. If it is stressful enough for you to be meeting them for the first time, it helps in knowing that they may also be stressed out and as nervous as you are when trying to impress them. If you are visiting your in-laws, the golden rule to be remembered is to let them have their way, don’t go about bringing changes from the very first day. Compliments work wonders to strengthen bonds, be generous in complimenting them, but do not go overboard with your compliments to avoid sounding phony.
Mind Over Manners
Remember the pearls of wisdom your Gran gave you when you were a kid. One of the foremost things you must have learned is to be polite, humble, and never interrupt when another is talking. These little things may affect your relationship with your in-laws if you do not bother to keep your manners in check. Kindness is a virtue you should cultivate, for being kind and gentle in your ways will do you good than harm. Have a respectful relationship with your in-laws from the very beginning, and remember that they are your spouse’s parents and have every reason to have a say in some matters. Just like your old Gran, who would listen to all that you had to say, you should do the same to your in-laws. Do not judge your in-laws, and remember nobody is perfect.