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Loosening the Rope: Getting Through Family Tensions

If you have any kind of tensions with anyone in your house, you’ll know that holiday breaks can be particularly difficult. When you go home, you either avoid the person to keep the peace, or you say something, or they say something, and your house becomes a war zone. For whatever reason, something between you two has never been fixed, and now that you don’t necessarily live there anymore, the tension still lies. And it gets dealt with less. However, it is best to deal with whatever issues you have before they escalate. Family tensions are different from friendship or relationship tensions, in the fact that you have your family for the rest of your life. You can dump a friend or a significant other to the curb and it is totally possible to never have contact with them again. However, your family will always be there whether you like it or not. Here are some tips to resolve them (which I will start doing too):

1. Talk. This is by far the easiest one to do but the hardest to keep up with over a long period of time, especially when you are busy with several other things like school or a job. Send them a text every once in awhile, asking how their day was or how their life is going. They will appreciate the simple gesture since it shows that you care about them.

2. When you are home, try to hang out with them a little. Go to lunch together, or include them in a conversation with the rest of the family. If they are an introvert, they may not enjoy huge groups, and then one on one is key for you to build a positive connection. If they are an extrovert then going to a gathering somewhere with the rest of your family is the best option. In that situation, make sure you are an active part of the conversation.

3. Don’t hide any negative emotions, or grudges that you may have.  One of the best ways I have found to tackle this is to sit down with the person and go back and forth, CALMLY expressing problems that each of you have. If you or the other person has a problem revealing how they truly feel, then some more casual communication might be necessary in order for you or them to have trust and open up.

4. Even if they are being stubborn, remember that trying to repair a broken relationship will help you in the long run and it is important to keep trying. It can be easy to give up, but neither of you deserve to be walking along a tightrope.

My name is Danielle (Danni for short), and I am a transfer student here at ODU! Before I came here I wrote for Her Campus at CNU, and I was studying Computer Engineering of all things! I'm majoring in Graphic Design now, and minoring in Spanish. I also work as a delivery driver at Domino's. Besides writing I also enjoy photography, cooking, and dyeing my hair dark red!
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