Patti's Blog

What to do if your mate’s family doesn’t like you

Daughter-in-law is irritated by her mother-in-lawWith the holidays upon us, I’m getting a lot of questions asking for advice on dealing with your mate’s family. This is the time of year when the most family meet and greets happen. And, let’s be honest here, for a lot of people, that means that the holidays aren’t the most wonderful time of the year. Family hangouts can be freaking stressful…especially if your mate’s family doesn’t dig you. Well, I’m not going to claim that I can fix this issue. But, I do have some tips on how to survive if your mate’s family doesn’t like you.


  • Figure out why

    See if you can find out why the family doesn’t love you like they should. I’d suggest doing this by talking to your partner. Are they comparing you to his last ex? Is it your religion? Is it something you said the first time you met them? If it’s something you can’t change, like your race or religion, that reflects poorly on them and says abso-freaking-lutely nothing about you. Still, as someone who has been shunned by a family because of my religion, I know that sucks in a major way. If it’s something you can change, like explaining away a misinterpreted joke, take the time to talk to them. It could help and make your future with your boo a lot easier.

  • Talk to your dude

    Let your man know how you’re feeling. He has way more experience with his family than you do and might be able to help you interpret some of their behavior. For example, maybe they’re always cold to new people and they just need a chance to warm up. Or maybe he’ll reassure you that what his family thinks doesn’t matter to him. What’s important here is that you explain your feelings to your dude without bashing his loved ones. Have specific examples of what you’re reacting to and communicate everything to him. You can’t really expect him to solve anything on the spot, but letting him in on your emotions will help.

  • Mitigate the circumstances

    If being with his family really is unpleasant for you, limit your exposure to them. Maybe when you visit them, stay in a hotel instead of staying with them. I know that it’s a bit expensive. But, if a couple hundred dollars turns a hellish weekend into a bearable one, I think that’s a bargain. Or occasionally send your partner off to visit them without you, so you don’t have to be there every single time. Minimize the time you spend being around people who aren’t crazy about you. All parties will probably be appreciative.

  • Kill ‘em with kindness

    Sometimes being super nice to someone wears them down and makes your relationship better.

    I know this sounds cheesy, but it really works. Whenever I have to be with someone that I can’t stand (You’ve seen it on the show a few times. It happens.) I try to find something to compliment them on. So, whenever I’m really irked at someone, I take a second, breathe a deep breath and pay them a sincere compliment. I know it sounds crazy. But sometimes being super nice to someone wears them down and makes your relationship better. So, when his mom is nagging you, take a beat and find something that you actually admire about her or like about her house or cooking, and let her know. It’ll keep you from saying something nasty and will help you to find the bright spots in what’s probably a really crappy interaction.

Let me know what’s the worst family meet and greet you’ve ever survived in the comments below.