It鈥檚 never easy to deal with frustrating family members and awkward situations between relatives, but in a time when divorce is all too familiar and the word 鈥渇amily鈥 has taken on endless definitions, many of us have gotten a grip on what works in our own tribes. You know who鈥檚 talking to whom 鈥 and more importantly, who鈥檚 declared they are never speaking again 鈥 and what conversations to avoid around the holiday table. Congratulations, you鈥檝e mastered your clan!

Unfortunately, if you鈥檙e dating, that鈥檚 only half the battle. Coming into your S.O.鈥檚 family drama is like getting caught up on 10 seasons of a soap opera you鈥檝e never even heard of. Since binge watching all of that back story is next to impossible when you鈥檙e starting up a new relationship (who has the time?), here are five tips to stepping into your boo鈥檚 family drama that will help avoid driving a wedge between you and your special someone.

friends at a dinner party

1. Respect the history. If you have a hunch that there鈥檚 a big awkward elephant hanging in the room whenever your S.O. brings up their family, resist the urge to dig for more information. Respect that this story may be much deeper than you realize, and trust that you鈥檒l learn what you need to learn 鈥 when your S.O. is ready for you to learn it.

2. Don鈥檛 blend your baggage. You may think you鈥檙e a pro at managing the tricky quirks of your own family, but your S.O. is likely not interested in comparing your situations. Establish a distance between how you would handle a similar situation in your own family and how your S.O. approaches their unique case.

3. Put a smile on. If the time has come to face your S.O.鈥檚 frustrating family in person, follow the clich茅 rule of thumb and kill them with kindness. It鈥檚 not up to you to fight your bae鈥檚 battles, and it will make both of you look good if you can rise above and act like you have no idea about the tension. Drama? What drama?

Couple not talking after argument

4. You can鈥檛 fix this. Just like you can鈥檛 change a person to make them who you want them to be, you can鈥檛 change their relationships to fit a model that makes you more comfortable. Accept your S.O.鈥檚 family for who they are, and don鈥檛 take on responsibility for creating a rosier picture.

5. Remember why you鈥檙e here. Don鈥檛 let the drama in your S.O.鈥檚 personal life distract you from why you chose them in the first place. Focus on being a supportive, non-judgmental partner. The further you explore and build your relationship, the stronger you鈥檒l be down the road to face the family headaches as a team.

How do you keep your cool when it comes to your S.O.鈥檚 family drama? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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