Family time should be fun, but if your family is involved in a family feud, gatherings might be anything but fun. Family feuds happen for a number of reasons, including disagreements over money, sibling rivalry or hurt feelings. Regardless of the reason behind the feud or whether you’re directly involved in it, it’s important to resolve the family feud so you can enjoy your time together.
Forgive the person you have an issue with. It might not be easy, but it’s not worth going a lifetime without speaking. Plus, holding a grudge also causes you pain.
Make the first move to resolve the feud. Often in a family feud, pride prevents anyone from stepping up to resolve the feud, but someone has to do it. It can be something as simple as sending someone a short email or card to see if the other person is receptive to communicating.
Plan a get together in person if your family member is receptive to talking. Something casual like coffee or meeting for lunch is a good start. You don’t necessarily have to talk about the feud when you first get together, but just open the lines of communication again.
Explain to your family member why it’s important to you to resolve the feud. Let them know that their relationship and love is important to you.
Plan to just spend time rebuilding relationships and not talking about the feud initially if you don’t feel like it can be resolved with the current relationship dynamics.
Listen to what your family member has to say without interrupting. Once they’re finished talking, you can explain your feelings.
Pay attention to your choice of words and tone of voice. You don’t want your explanation to come across as blaming the other side.
Put yourself into the other person’s position to see their side of the story. Keep an open mind and try to think back to how you might have contributed to the feud. There are two sides to every story and although you might feel like you don’t carry any of the blame, it’s likely both sides have contributed to the feud.
Write down possible solutions to the issue and consider solutions from both sides before deciding on something together if the issue calls for a direct solution.
Seek a family therapist who can help your family resolve their feud if you can’t do it on your own. It’s likely the feud affects more than just the immediate family members involved in the disagreement.
Tamara Runzel has been writing parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She is now a mom of three and home schools her two oldest children. Runzel holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.