Awkward Moments

Navigating the Awkward Moments

Extended family toasting wine in kitchen

In-laws, adult stepchildren and extended family – Oh my! This is the season for families to come together; but the mood is not always full of good cheer. What can you do to navigate the awkward moments? Consider these keys to success and you will find that time with family is actually time well spent and enjoyable.

  • Show empathy. Remember that it may be awkward for your in-laws, stepchildren and extended family to feel like a part of the family. Try to understand and identify with their feelings. Instead of trying to force a friendship, let your relationship develop naturally.
  • Be a communicator. Communication is more than what you say, but how you say it. Make eye contact when speaking to your family and smile. Include others in your conversation when you are in a group and this will make all feel at ease.
  • Have an open mind. Unsolicited advice and perceived criticisms often create tension when families get together. As frustrating as it may be to be questioned about your child rearing or cooking skills, try to have an open mind. Try to discern the motive behind the seeming intrusion. Often family just want to confirm that they are important and still have a place in your life.
  • Be positive. Instead of focusing on the inconveniences and annoyances your family may create, think about their positive qualities. Think about their good qualities that endear them to you and you may even find some similarities between the two of you!
  • Have fun. Plan games, trivia and activities to keep the fun and laughs going. It’s hard to be upset when you are laughing. For ideas on things to do, check out our Family Fun article.

Life is short, so have fun and remember, this is a special time of year – you have much to be grateful for.

“A family doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to be united.” – Unknown

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