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4 Best Ways to Respond When Your In-Laws Are Rude to You

by Michelle
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4 Best Ways to Respond When Your In-Laws Are Rude to You

Dealing with difficult in-laws can be a challenging aspect of married life. While it’s natural to expect a certain level of respect and kindness from your extended family, there may be instances where your in-laws behave rudely towards you.

In such situations, it’s important to maintain your composure and handle the situation with grace and tact.

To help you navigate these tricky waters, we reached out to an etiquette expert who shared the best ways to respond when your in-laws are rude to you.

1. Stay Calm and Collected

When faced with rude behavior from your in-laws, it’s crucial to remain calm and collected. Remember that their behavior is a reflection of them, not of you.

Reacting impulsively or getting defensive will only escalate the situation further. Take a deep breath, compose yourself, and respond in a respectful and composed manner.

One effective technique is to employ the “broken record” approach. This involves calmly repeating a neutral statement to assert your boundaries without engaging in an argument.

For example, if your in-laws make a snide comment about your cooking, you can respond by saying, “I appreciate your feedback, but I’m confident in my cooking abilities.”

2. Communicate Openly and Assertively

Clear and open communication is key when dealing with rude in-laws. Instead of bottling up your emotions or harboring resentment, address the issue directly but respectfully.

Choose an appropriate time and place to have a conversation with your spouse and express how their parents’ behavior is affecting you.

During the conversation, use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid sounding accusatory. For instance, you can say, “I feel hurt when your parents make derogatory remarks about me. It would mean a lot to me if we could find a way to address this together.”

By communicating assertively, you are setting clear boundaries and making it known that their behavior is unacceptable. This approach allows for a constructive dialogue that can help improve the relationship between you and your in-laws.

3. Seek Support from Your Spouse

When dealing with rude in-laws, it’s crucial to have the support of your spouse. Talk openly with your partner about how their parents’ behavior makes you feel and work together to find a solution.

Your spouse can act as a mediator between you and their parents, helping to address the issue and set boundaries.

It’s important to approach this conversation with empathy and understanding for your spouse’s position. Remember that they may be torn between their loyalty to you and their relationship with their parents.

By working together as a team, you can find a solution that respects both your feelings and the family dynamics.

4. Let your partner take care of their parents

According to Sara Jane Ho, a Harvard-trained etiquette expert and founder of the finishing school Institute Sarita, host of the Netflix show “Mind Your Manners,” and author of the upcoming book “Mind Your Manners,” suggests a simple yet effective approach when dealing with rude in-laws.

Even if an in-law throws a passive-aggressive comment or a more direct insult your way, Ho advises responding with a smile and agreeable attitude. Let your partner take care of their parents’ behavior and focus on maintaining a positive demeanor.

While it can be tempting to reprimand your in-laws for their rude behavior, Ho emphasizes that it’s not your responsibility. Instead, it’s your spouse’s job to address any issues. By allowing your partner to handle the situation, you avoid unnecessary conflict and maintain a harmonious relationship with your in-laws.

This rule also applies when your own parents say something that makes your partner uncomfortable. Just as you should let your spouse handle their parents, you should take care of your own parents and ensure that they understand the impact of their words.

There may be instances when it’s difficult to maintain a smile and agreeable attitude. In such cases, Ho suggests remaining silent. Sometimes, not saying anything is the best response to rude behavior. By refusing to engage in negativity, you allow the other person to wallow in their own misbehavior.

It’s important not to let rude comments or questions sour your mood during the holiday season. Ho advises that the greatest power lies in showing that the other person’s words do not have power over you. By staying positive and unaffected, you maintain control over your emotions and prevent the negativity from ruining your holiday experience.

This article was updated 2 months ago


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