6 Easy Ways to Break the Ice with In-laws
Of all the relationship-related situations a woman will ever face in her life, there is nothing quite like rubbing elbows with the in-laws. Holiday dinners, gift-giving, and even simple get-togethers can be nerve-racking, especially if you haven't spent much time with them post-nuptials.
A couple of years ago, I met a wonderful, handsome man at my parents' insistence. We fell head over heels for each other, and several weeks later, we got married — which meant I hardly got the chance to know my family-in-law before tying the knot with their son!
I knew they were nice people at heart and would treat me with a lot of affection and respect. I wasn't wrong about that. But back then, it was necessary to set the tone for a harmonious relationship with them. If you are in a similar boat, here are six ice-breaking tips I followed.
Use the F.O.R.D Technique
Remember this simple four-letter word, as it will come in handy when initiating a conversation with your family-in-law. F.O.R.D stands for:
- Family: Lend an ear to learn about your in-laws' family (or childhood), the city they grew up in, their favorite cuisine.
- Occupation: Talking about work is a safe conversation starter. A lot of meaningful conversations with family members of all age groups around work culture, office etiquette, and personal experiences can stem from that.
- Recreation: Everyone loves to talk about travel or what they like doing over the weekend. I am sure your new family will be happy to give an insight into their leisure activity preferences.
- Dreams: Everyone has a bucket list . Ask your in-laws if there's a special place they'd like to visit, or skills and hobbies they wish to learn.
If They're Hosting, Don't Hesitate to Help Out
A genuinely lovely person will never expect their daughter-in-law to help out in the kitchen, serve appetizers and drinks, or clean up. If you could lend a hand in any of these tasks, they'd appreciate it. After all, you are a part of their family, not their guest.
Go Through Family Photos with Them
This is a fantastic way to get to know your family-in-law. I remember going through old family photos with the entire lot last year. From my in-laws' wedding pics and their beloved vacation spots to photos of my husband as a kid, the experience helped me get to know my new family better. And since every picture has a story tell, it wasn't long before everyone started sharing lighthearted anecdotes about each other. We all laughed a lot!
Talk to Them Once a Week
Life can get very hectic at times, which means it is impossible to talk to parents on the phone for days on end. However, in the beginning, you must make an effort to call or message your in-laws because it won't happen naturally.
These conversations don't always have to be long or happen as a video or voice call. Sending a simple WhatsApp message to them whenever you get a moment would work, too. It's the gesture that matters, as it shows they are in your thoughts.
Take a Trip Together
Traveling is a fun way to get the entire family to bond over culture, food, and drinks. So make it a point to take your in-laws on vacation annually or once in two years. There's nothing better than de-stressing and enjoying the break talking and laughing together.
Give Your Relationship Time
New family members can sometimes be hard to impress. However, with a little effort, anything is possible if you are open-minded and willing to give everyone a chance. Don't jump to conclusions or start judging your in-laws. Build new relationships with your mind, not your heart — that's my mantra!
Your spouse is not the same as his or her family, but his family nurtured him. Therefore, it's a huge mistake not to consider that when you get married. As women are seen as the glue holding the family together, the responsibility is even greater. Always be patient when managing long-lasting relationships with your in-laws. It's worth it — trust me.