The key to really connecting with your family is being able to communicate well with them. There’s no need to keep your thoughts and feelings bottled up or feel like this conversation is a chore. With the right approach and attitude, you’ll be able to enjoy these interactions as well as learn from each other.
- Communication 101 with Extended Family Members
If you need to know what kind of communication style they typically employ, the first action involves asking them outright. Each family member has their favorite way of communicating through words or tone of voice. With so many styles and patterns, it’s essential to remember what type of communication might work best for you.
- Get Their Feedback on Your Communication Style
Next, ask them what they think about your communication style and why they might prefer it over another. By asking these questions, you’ll get a better idea of what works best for them. You can also use this feedback to improve yourself.
- Close Your Mouth and Listen
Try not to interrupt or speak out at the beginning of a conversation with extended family members; listen carefully to whatever they say first. This will help clear up misunderstandings or awkward pauses before you get into the talkative mode. In negotiations training, this is called “active listening,” and it’s considered to be the most potent form of communication.
- Keep Things Positive and Informative
Try to remain positive and avoid lecturing or delivering negative comments about yourself or other family members. Instead, try to focus on positive messages, such as how they’ve helped you out in the past or how their kids are great at soccer. By following this strategy, you’ll be able to keep communication with your family members friendly and enjoyable.
- Make It a Family Affair
Invite extended family members for dinner, or go to their house for a potluck. The more you socialize, the easier it will be to build strong relationships with them. Even if you didn’t get along too well with your family as a child, inviting them over regularly as an adult will help you get closer to them and make things even better.
- Get Relaxed
You’ll have a much easier time maintaining positive communication with your extended family when you’re not stressed or worried about being rude or offending them. You can help avoid awkward situations by being yourself and avoiding timid remarks, pretentious remarks, or comments.
- Start Small
Try to avoid going big with extended family at first; take small steps to get close to them and move at a comfortable pace. Start by cooking together, then go from there. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your family members what they need or want, and don’t be afraid of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to requests.
- Try New Things
Try new things and see what works best to connect with your extended family. Some people prefer spending time on the phone, while others might like face-to-face communication, so you’ll have to find out what type of way they want by asking themselves directly.
Communicating with extended family members can often be viewed as a weird chore or something that needs to be avoided. But there’s no need to feel embarrassed or awkward while having these conversations, and they’re pretty simple to manage. Keep these tips in mind when you’re planning future family gatherings.