[Modern Family]. Retrieved June 6, 2016. From: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/theater/jesse-tyler-ferguson-unleashes-his-inner-foodie-on-broadway.html?_r=0

 [Untitled cartoon image of fighting family]. Retrieved June 3, 2016, from: https://orlandoespinosa.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/walking-away-orlando-espinosa.jpg?w=812
[Untitled cartoon image of fighting family]. Retrieved June 3, 2016, from: https://orlandoespinosa.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/walking-away-orlando-espinosa.jpg?w=812
It’s probably safe to say that everyone hates a family feud, and we’re not talking about the type with Steve Harvey — although having his words of wisdom during a family altercation doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Well, we can’t all be as smooth with words as Steve Harvey, so what do we do when we’re in the middle of a family war? Even though you have no issues with either family member, is it possible to stay neutral when your family members are looking for you to take sides and join in the disagreement? If your answer is no, you’re wrong. Keep reading below for a few tips to help you stay out of family disputes.

  1. Show NO interest in the gossiping. For example, if your cousin and brother are not on each other’s good side, they’re going to find a way to talk bad about the other when around you. It’s your job to get them to stop talking, and you do this by playing in your phone, looking in the opposite direction, etc. Anything to show lack of interest in the gossip so you won’t be included. That’s the last thing you want.
  2. Say little-to-nothing about the situation. In this case, it’s not good to give your opinion. If there’s no way to escape the conversation, say things like, “Oh, wow really,” “Oh okay, I see,” or the infamous head nod to show you’re listening. Stay away from phrases such as “I agree.” You don’t want it to look like you’re taking sides, because once it does, you’re involved.
  3. Keep your normal communication and behavioral patterns with each member. If you normally speak to Pookie on Saturday and Tuesday, keep it that way. Don’t talk to him any more or less. If you are usually very open with Pookie, be sure to stay that way. Don’t change your behaviors around either of your feuding relatives. By keeping things normal with your fighting family members they’ll be able to see that their falling out hasn’t affected you, and you’re not choosing one over the other.

You’ll have to keep these steps up for as long as your feuding family members are in opposition with each other, which could be a very long time. However, your ability to stay neutral can have a positive effect on your family, and could actually end the feud sooner. Use any special event of yours (birthday, graduation, etc.) to bring those family members together. More than likely they won’t try to fight with each other out of respect for you. Who knows, they may even begin speaking to each other. Family members can throw tons of trash talk and pettiness at each other but the shade never endures, because family feuds are like the mental battle you face when dress shopping on budget—your mind wrestles back and forth, and you might even pretend like you don’t like the dress, but in the end you find a way to make peace. With your choice to not add fire to the flame, you’ll be helping your family members to find their peace.

Written By: Kahina Ray

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