"Are you really wearing that?!" How to deal with *those* relatives

Most of us have dealt with judgmental relatives at some point in our lives. You know, the great aunt who criticizes your miniskirt, or the grandparents who frown upon your soccer skills, wishing you would spend your time doing something like knitting…And now that it's summer, you might be spending more time with family or visiting those relatives you don't often see. Here are some tips to help you deal with an overly opinionated fam. 

Realize that sometimes it’s just a generational thing.
Your grandparents, for example, grew up in a different time period. Society has progressed so much in the last twenty years in terms of technology, gender norms and education. What we consider the “norm” is probably not the norm for your older family members, especially if they are from a different country or possibly religion. We may have grown up with technology at the tip of our fingers, but for others, it can be difficult to adjust or comprehend the logic behind something like a selfie stick or a fidget spinner.

Accept that you can’t change other peoples’ opinions.
You can argue and plead your case for hours but when it's all said and done, you can’t alter someone’s core beliefs. Opinions come from a perspective, and you probably haven’t experienced or dealt with much of what your judgmental aunt has gone through. Stop fighting and focus on what you *do* have in common. Once you accept that you both are who you are (for better or for worse), you can move on.

There is no right or wrong opinion.
Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts, and opinions are just that: personal judgements or beliefs. You can raise awareness about health rights for women and explain the cause to your uncle, but nobody can say that an opinion is correct or incorrect. There are different motivations behind taking a stance on a certain issue, and we all deserve the right to have our own views.

Take the time to understand where they're coming from.
You might be surprised as to why a family member feels so strongly about a certain side in a controversial topic. There may be something you don’t know about that person’s past experiences in life. If some people are raised with a certain belief, chances are that it is still at least partly instilled within them in adulthood.

Give yourself a break.
Okay, so you get that you can't change someone and you should accept them, etc...but sometimes the comments or actions just get to you! And you feel like you're going to scream. It's perfectly fine (and probably necessary) to have some alone time to chill out and regroup so go for a walk or go to a different room and read a book. If you can't get away, take a few deep breaths to calm down before you say something you might regret. 

Have you experienced judgmental relatives before? Did you try some of these tips?


by Amrita Bhasin | 6/29/2017
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