Winning over your significant other’s family is no easy feat, especially when you feel that they may not like you as much as you wish they did. Trouble with the “in-laws,” or legal in-laws, is a classic tale that almost everyone has experienced. However, hope is not lost. There are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when enhancing a relationship with your significant other’s family.
1. Choose to be nice. This may sound silly, but I got this one from a very dear “in-law” of my own. In any situation, it is important to realize that we have a choice of how we are going to respond. If you feel that they are not being as nice as you’d like, you still have the choice to respond with kindness. And at the end of the day that says a lot about you and leaves a favorable impression by itself.
2. Show an interest. in activities that they enjoy. Bonding time is crucial in relations with the “in-laws.” Spending time with them in environments or outings that they are comfortable with will allow them to drop any guards that they have and let you into their comfort zone. Plus, by seeing you putting in an effort to involve yourself in things that are pleasurable to them will make them associate you with positive feelings and memories.
3. Give it some time. In psychology, there is a term that explains that the more that we are exposed to a stimulus the more we grow to like it. It is called the mere exposure effect. This can be applied to anything from food to music, and yes, even people. The more that we are exposed to a person, in a positive setting of course, the more we develop a liking to them naturally. We are wired that way. Really deep relationships don’t happen overnight. Don’t give up! It will take some time and effort but it will be worth it.
4. This isn’t easy. for them either. We often get caught up in how hard and awkward it is for us that we forget that they may be feeling the same, especially if the relationship is looking serious for the two of you. Parents spend their entire lives being the center of their children’s universe. For the majority of the time they were where your significant other found his/her happiness. At the end of the day, every parent just wants to see their child happy, and being in a relationship with you opens the door to them being vulnerable and getting hurt. It can be a difficult transition for parents to see their child move into finding that happiness elsewhere.