4 Ways to Diffuse a Fight Between Extended Family Members

“God, give me strength each day to fight for my family.” -Nehemiah 4:14

Fighting with family can be 10x worse than fighting with a friend. You may be forced to be around them at family events  or special occasions. It can cause a ripple throughout the entire family – pitting families against each other.

For the sake of your family, it’s best to diffuse the fight as soon as possible.

1. Get some space. 

Take about a week or so to cool off. Don’t call them or text them until you’ve figured out a way to handle the situation. The last thing you need is to amp the situation up even more.

2. Don’t get other family members involved. 

While you can get advice, do not get them involved in the situation. If they’re the type to blow up, wait a few days and then tell them about it.

This has unfortunately happened to me… My cousin was unhappy that he didn’t get an invitation to my wedding (it was an intimate ceremony with less than 20 people). So, his parents felt the need to get involved and to get my father involved. The situation escalated with the whole telephone thing going on.

If my cousin had just picked up the phone directly and called me, the situation could’ve been squashed.

3. Don’t fight over social media, text messaging or email!

A lot of the time things can be misconstrued in a message. It’s easier to write harsher things AND it’s easier to misinterpret what the other person is saying.

You should either pick up the phone and give them a call – if you’re not too heated. Or wait a few days and then give them a call. There will be some people who only want to communicate over messaging. Don’t do it! Instead, reply calmly that you’ll continue the conversation on the phone or in-person.

4. Don’t rehash the past.

Once the argument has been resolved, leave it in the past! Don’t bring it up again. What’s done is done. Grudges have kept family members apart for many years. In the end, it only hurts the person holding the grudge.

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