While we have the ability to choose our friends, we do not have the ability to choose our family. Nasty, rude family members can be difficult to deal with; however, rather than allowing your anger to cause a rift, it is important to learn how to deal with them. Take steps to save your mental health and familial bonds, whether you only see him once a year or every other day.
Avoiding Him at Family Functions
1. Move to a new location. Large family gatherings, while unavoidable, usually necessitate a large space. Simply changing your location will allow you to avoid any obnoxious family members. Be courteous and greet him with a handshake and a smile; you are not required to do anything else.
Keep your mouth shut. Even if you change locations, you may still hear something vexing. Make a point of moving into a room where his voice will be muffled, or closing the door to the room he is currently in.
If you will be seeing a family member on a daily basis, such as a sibling, plan ahead of time to limit your time with him. Join extracurricular activities after school, for example, so you won’t have to eat dinner with your obnoxious younger brother.
2. If you find yourself in an awkward conversation, change the subject. Many times, rude people are merely attempting to attract attention by eliciting a reaction. If you know what topics she enjoys bringing up, steer clear of them by transitioning to a more neutral conversation that does not require her opinion or reaction.
For example, avoid discussing her political views and instead discuss topics that you know she enjoys and is enthusiastic about, such as her recent home improvements. Say something like, “That’s a difficult issue, and I’d like to learn more about it before casting my vote.” Speaking of reading, I recently finished an article on how to build a fantastic deck. “How long did it take you to construct yours?”
Keep a friendly demeanour if you have to interact with a family member on a daily basis. To form a bond, discuss common interests or dislikes.
3. Distract him with a game. Depending on the size of the family gathering, there may be opportunities to split up and begin an activity. Large family gatherings may necessitate the assistance of others to supervise children, prepare meals, or clean the venue. Delegating a job he enjoys will keep him busy.
For example, ask for assistance with your car, home improvement advice, or sports with the kids.
Make sure he isn’t involved in anything that could cause him to offend more people. You may be fueling a volatile situation if you ask him to participate in an activity that requires a lot of social interaction.
Keep yourself busy around the house or pick up a new hobby to distract yourself from any obnoxious siblings. Better yet, encourage or support your rude family member’s hobby. For example, if your obnoxious brother enjoys a particular type of book or video game, buy him several of that genre to keep her occupied.
1. Make it clear what is and is not acceptable. Determine what it is about this family member that bothers you. Be rational and openly and honestly analyse your own thoughts. If it helps, try speaking your feelings out loud to a trusted friend or family member. Always give your emotions time to settle before acting on them to ensure they are accurate and not irrational.
Recognizing your feelings will assist you in tailoring a solution to the problem.
2. Rather than arguing, organise your thoughts and plan to communicate. Writing down what you want to say allows you to create a logical and coherent communication plan.
Begin with a flow chart or a brainstorming session to organise your thoughts and emotions.
Practice and rehearse what you’re going to say. Whether you practise in front of a mirror or with other family members, get comfortable speaking about this issue and being in a hostile situation.
3. Express your annoyance. Silence allows bad behaviour to continue. Other family members may be hesitant to intervene. Have an open conversation with her about how her behaviour is affecting you and the rest of the family.
Before and during the confrontation, take a deep breath. Maintain your cool when delivering news that the person may interpret as accusatory. Defensiveness can be reduced by using open body language and a friendly demeanour.
Remember that rude people may be in denial or become defensive.
Instead of beginning a statement with “you,” use “I-statements” to express how you feel. Don’t assign blame; instead, express your feelings clearly while listening to what they have to say.
4. Communicate the steps that must be taken to correct the situation. Make sure to carefully choose your words and avoid escalating the emotions with an angry or elevated tone.
For example, if you are confronting your younger brother, you could say something like, “I don’t like your snarky and sarcastic remarks. Jokes have their time and place. It’s fine to make fun of your friends or me while we’re watching TV, but please don’t say anything that will irritate mom and dad. Don’t say anything at the dinner table, especially after a long day for both of them.”
5. Choose a convenient time and a quiet location. If you confront your family member in front of others, the situation may escalate because they may feel embarrassed and want to lash out. Select a location where you can present yourself as equals.
Scheduling around her ensures that she is not caught off guard or pressed for a response. Scheduling demonstrates that you value her time and have given this conversation enough thought to prioritise it.
6. Understand his predicament. Maintain objectivity and avoid allowing emotions to cloud your judgement. Make it a point to get to know your family member better before confronting him. Perhaps he is rude because he had a difficult childhood or because he is insecure about his accomplishments in comparison to the rest of the family.
Don’t bring up difficult topics by being rude to yourself. For example, if she frequently mentions how much you make in comparison to her, let her know you understand how difficult it has been for her and her family. Offer advice and let her know you understand where she’s coming from by using an example of how you had to work your way up to get to where you are financially.
As an example, say, “Is it possible that I misunderstood you? You’re coming across as impolite. Please let me know if I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying or why you’re upset. I’m here to listen and make certain that I understand what you’re saying.”
Speaking to Other Relatives
1. Request that relatives who have a better relationship with him confront him about his behaviour. Family dynamics can be complicated, so find the best person to confront your rude family member. Use other members of your family as a buffer. So you don’t have to confront him, talk to his closest confidantes.
For example, he may have a closer relationship with his cousin than with his brother, or with his grandfather than with his father. Allow him to speak with someone he respects.
2. Speak with your family members to see if her actions have had an impact on them as well. Check to see if her rudeness is a real issue and not just you being overly sensitive. Ask them one-on-one and assure them that your only goal is to ensure that everyone in the family is treated with dignity.
Some family members will not want to stir up unnecessary conflict. Make sure you have the majority of your family’s approval.
3. Set a good example for others to follow. Every member of the family should be treated with kindness and respect. Just because he is impolite does not imply that you should be impolite in return. To diffuse any negative situations, take the high road and maintain a pleasant demeanour.
Don’t waste valuable emotional and mental resources by ruminating on things you can’t change. Concentrate on what makes you happy about your family and work to strengthen these bonds while also enjoying the moments you have with them.
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