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Can you tell me how you would handle this Thanksgiving?

We are going to my mil's for dinner. My bil and sil and their families will be there. It's always tense because the bil has very little to do with his family to the point that we do not know their children well and visa versa. The youngest don't even know who we are. His wife is friendly when others are aroung but does not talk to me otherwise. For get togethers she traditionally sits somewhere and doesn't move, or get up to say hi. It's nine years of this and the last event, I decided to just have a nice time, not worry about where or what she was doing. Now, my bil doesn't say hello either. One of these siblings is always in the dog house and my MIL is the culprit IMO. She has a divide and conquer like behavior. I can't fix it or change it...I've tried. What do you recommend? I want to be comfortable in my own skin.


Asked by happi-ladi at 8:10 AM on Nov. 22, 2009 in Relationships

Level 18 (6,167 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • The only person whose behavior you can control is your own. Do nothing to cause further discomfort in the people attending the event. Show the others what proper behavior toward family members looks like. Greet them warmly, include them in conversations. Play with their children. Be all that you can be, understanding that they may not respond, but then, this is their problem not yours. At the end of the day you'll know that you did what you could to make a harmonious and memorable occasion.

    Answer by Bmat at 8:16 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • Just ignore them and go about your day. I have a strained relationship with some of my family members as well. I decided a few years back that I would not let them make my life miserable, so I just do my thing at the family get togethers and let them do theirs. I'm very nice to them so I'm not seen as the grumpy one. Good luck.


    Answer by Anonymous at 8:13 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • id not even put myself through that. family can be a bitch, man. ive moved far away from my family. just me, my kid, and the hubbs. thats all i need. we make and start our own traditions. :)

    Answer by evilive at 8:39 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • Your instinct to just go and ignore it right on the money! Eat and leave ! You didn't say how far you have to go, but hopefully you can only suffer the punishment for a few hours LOL, I think your SIL sounds like she is not having the time of her life either, maybe next year would be a good time to plan your family vacation, my DH and I are taking the kiddo on a little trip next year to avoid almost the exact same thing LOL! This year I have to work, how lucky for me ha ha! Good luck mom, and take care!

    Answer by kimigogo at 9:32 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • have you ever tried to invite them to your house and get to know the bil and his wife alone? My husband and I are both very quite we like to keep to ourselves I would be like her at a party even with my relatives but defiantly with his if we had any contact with them at all. His family does not like that we are not christian and though we have tried to have contact with them he got to the point said forget it. Your bil it could be something about his family he just is not happy with maybe they go because the wife insist? I am guessing a lot here. I just know when your the quite and like to just keep to yourselves type it is so hard to be in a crowd of people even relatives. try to see them in a very small setting. try something for the kids to get them involved with each other. go out to eat someplace the kids will love. try win them over through their kids maybe? take time to just get to know her alone go to lunch. Good luck

    Answer by SaphiraJFire at 9:37 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • I was the person sitting somewhere for a lot of years. To a degree I still am that person, but it's because I feel uncomfortable there. I see those people a few times a year if that and so there's no relationship to speak of. I don't know how to approach them really. I've got one SIL I don't think I've said a word to other than hello in countless years. It's not that I don't like her, I don't know her.
    So my advice is to walk over to where she's at and say hello and talk about the kids... wow they've sure grown since we saw them last and how schoo's going, what sports/extra curricular activities they're doing etc. Just any way to make conversation. If she seems to not want to talk to you, then you politely excuse yourself and mingle amongst the rest of the group. I'm going to guess that she just doesn't know what to talk about.
    Wishing you lots of luck :)

    Answer by lisa_ann_p at 9:47 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • Ignore them. Misery loves company. Enjoy yourself & relax.

    Answer by mommorgan at 9:56 AM on Nov. 22, 2009

  • Don't worry about what your BIL/SIL do. It isn't up to you to get them to be social, and you have no obligation to be social with them. If going up to them and starting a conversation doesn't work, then just don't put any effort into trying to get them to be social. That is their choice to sit and not speak to anyone and you don't have to remedy it. Just converse with those who wish you be social and leave it at that. If one of the couples is having an issue then ignore it. You don't need to be involved in other people's relationship matters. (Not to say you butt in, but just don't acknowledge it if it comes to a head). Let your MIL handle her children as she wishes to handle them. The only person you have to worry about is you. (aside from your kids) Let everyone else handle themselves. Again, be social with those who wish to be social, and let the rest sit in the corner and be loners.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 8:21 PM on Nov. 22, 2009