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People You Don't Like But Have To See: Tips For Getting Along
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, January 2010

It's inevitable that at some point we will have to spend time with people we don't like. Maybe you don't like your spouse's best friend or your daughter's boyfriend.

Here are some simple tips for getting through these tricky situations:

You Don't Get Along With A Relative - This is someone you can't avoid completely but with whom you can spend only so much time before he/she starts to drive you crazy. Keep activities confined to neutral zones, such as going to a movie or a restaurant. Don't try to redesign someone's personality. Focus on one or two admirable qualities.

You Don't Like Your Partner's Friend - See this friend through your partner's eyes. Maybe they have a long history together; they may have helped one another through some difficult life challenges. You are not there to judge. Find something you like or can appreciate about this friend. Tell your partner that you are fine not being included in some of their time together. However, if there is something important in the friend's life, put your feelings aside and "show up."

You Don't Like Your Child's Spouse - Even when it is tough, make every effort to get along with your child's spouse. Care about him/her and show respect. Avoid criticizing and saying anything bad about this person unless you see your child is in danger and then, say whatever you intend to say with great care and tact. You don't want to put your child in the middle of a conflict between you and his spouse, and it is not fair to make your child choose between the two of you.

You Don't Like Your Houseguest - Try to carve out some time for yourself. Find something relaxing and recharging that you love to do. Take a quiet walk by yourself. Have a relaxing bath. Meditate. Consider having them do some dishes or fold some laundry; this can help to greatly reduce your own stress level, and possibly enjoy some time with your guests.

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