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Top 10 Secrets to Getting Along With Your In-Laws


Everyone wants, in the words of Rodney King, “To just get along”. It’s easier for some than it is for others. No matter how hard we try, there are those folks out there who we just don’t connect with. We have nothing in common with them and, sadly, aren’t even that interested in bridging the gap.

Sometimes, however, we have no choice. We have to get along, to even be friendly, accommodating, and caring. When? When it has to do with your in-laws. That’s right, when the in-laws come to town, you have to put up or shut up and it’s quite frankly easier to get along than it is to be miserable. (It won’t earn you any brownie points with your spouse, either, if you can’t get along with her dad or his mom!)

There are ways, though, my friend, to get along with just about anyone, no matter who they are. Here are my secrets:

1. Talk about them. Ask questions about their job, hobbies, and growing up years. You may find that the person you are listening to has had quite the interesting life. You may even discover that you do have something in common with him or her, after all.

2. Feed them. Find out, when you are busy learning more about the in-law in question, what kinds of foods they enjoy eating. Now make them, buy them, order in or take them out. People who are well fed are easier to get along with. They are relaxed (as much as they can be) and easier to get along with.

3. Solicit advice. Ask your grandmother-in-law just what she thinks about your new baby’s colic. Ask Dad-in-law his opinion on the latest draft picks. While she may have some bizarre-sounding remedies, she will feel both important and useful. This will only make you look good, furthering your relationship.

4. Ask for help. In-laws, especially the parental varieties, like to feel useful. They want to remain a part of their child’s life. If you have a door that’s sticky, ask your father-in-law for help fixing it. (Be careful, though. If he’s not handy, try asking for help with something a little less hands-on, like what type of car to buy next.)

5. Include them. Invite them over for dinner often (or as much as you can stand). Get them together with your OWN family. The in-laws can then swap stories about you and your spouse.

6. Play some games. Board games, air hockey tables or pool tables all offer opportunities to play and build relationships. You’ll get a good feel for how competitive your brother-in-law really is.

7. Liquor them up. Depending on your beliefs, serve adult beverages at gatherings you’re hosting. Don’t bring a six pack to your niece’s first birthday party, but offer a variety of drinks. This can help everyone relax. (Use some good judgment here!)

8. Say no. While this may seem negative, it’s not. Establishing boundaries with the in-laws is a good way for them to see where they fit into your life. Yes, it’s all right for them to bring presents for the baby, but no, they can’t feed her French fries.

9. If all else fails, pretend they are someone else you really like.

10. Enjoy them. Even the prickliest of mother-in-laws has a good side. While you may have to be patient, the old crone must have something to recommend her. If not, thrash her at a game of air hockey. You’ll feel better!

to find more about ping pong tables and dart boards. website provides info about pool table and pool table lights.

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Listed: November 4, 2008 8:08 am