Dealing with weird family relationships

Met these characters before? Odds are if you haven’t, it’s because you’ve got them in your family. But, let’s be honest, we all have that random Uncle in our family that we’d rather not engage with. So let’s all collectively cringe / cry at The Mix’s guide to those weird family relationships you just somehow can’t seem to avoid.

A family is sitting around a dinner table. They are discussing weird family relationships. This is a wide-angle image.

The everything-phobic grandparents

Sometimes it’s hard to equate your cuddly grandma with the torrent of old-fashioned and offensive bilge that comes pouring out of her mouth. Unfortunately, these grandparents tend not to be swayed easily. So, you’ll have to have a lot of patience when you’re dealing with them.

The fiercely dogmatic political uncle

Picture the scene. It’s a family reunion and just before the profiteroles are passed round, your Uncle Sidney proclaims “Trump was a brilliant leader!”. Cue jaws dropping on the floor and a full-scale row. All you wanted to do was have those goddamn profiteroles.

The parents who nag about your overindulgence

“It sounds trite, but it’s only because they care,” points out Paula Hall, relationship psychotherapist at Relate. “Very few parents will approve of you smoking or binge drinking, however hypocritical it may seem. If you must drink or smoke, make sure you’re discreet about it.” This goes right to the front of weird family relationships.

The parents who overindulge themselves

Some parents never learn. When you see your folks smothering waffles in melted cheese and puffing away as if lung cancer has never happened, it can be downright hurtful. But instead of preaching, try to gently educate them by subtly directing them to resources which might help.

The dad with irritating habits

Ingrained habits, such as sniffing like a warthog or stirring coffee with a blackhead gun can be as cringe as outrageous comments. There’s no helping it though, weird family relationships sometimes involve ignoring this sort of thing to keep the peace. Try focusing on their good qualities to avoid losing your temper.

Read our article on family holidays if you’re about to go on a trip with this guy.

The aunt who always asks about your love life

She’s any singleton’s nightmare. The probing aunt who gives you a sympathetic pat then tells you exactly why you’re not getting any action. You won’t get away with it if you’re in a relationship either; she’ll want all the gossip. Just one of the perks of being in a weird family.

The straight-A-student cousin

You were proud of your results until you called to tell your grandparents, and they’re too busy gushing about suck-up Sylvia’s grades to congratulate you on yours. Oh well, bet Sylvia didn’t have as many great nights out as you.

The slightly odd distant relation

You’ve never met them, but you’ve heard about them. Whether they’ve miraculously disappeared, joined a cult or bullied your grandma when they were a kid, they’re the odd relative in your weird family. The one you’re curious about but hope you’ll never meet.

The eco-unfriendly parents

Do you have the kind of parents who think recycling is something to do with mountain bikes? Who return from Sainsbury’s in their 4×4 clutching enough plastic bags to suffocate the entire north Atlantic seal population? Don’t worry though, if you say things like, ‘ooh, you seem to have put the glass bottle in the wrong bin‘, they’ll eventually learn by osmosis.

The annoying small child

You’ve watched numerous dance routines, listened to countless tantrums and you’re covered in their grime. This round of hide and seek, they can stay behind your Nan’s net curtains.

Side note: If you ever find yourself stuck with any of these characters in a family dinner, click here for some advice.

Next Steps

By Christian Koch

Updated on 10-Oct-2021