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Safe Topics To Talk To Mil

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by BhumiBabe, May 23, 2017.

  1. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    Since the beginning, I have had trouble talking to my MIL. She's not a bad person, or unreasonable. It's just that our views are so different, the conversations I start divert to something else with her, and vice versa. Normally, I wouldn't have issue on what to talk about, since she lives on the other side of the planet, but for the next 4 months, we're stuck with each other, and I want to at least be civil to her.

    What are some safe topics to speak to your MIL about?

    These topics have not worked: cooking (we have different opinions on that), tv (she watches nothing...), health (feels redundant, since she never takes my advice), Childcare (we don't see eye-to-eye, but at least she does what I ask her to do part of the time), her son (did anyone think this would work?), weather (it's always hot in Chennai!), Clothes (she only wears cotton saris and honestly doesn't care), Religion (I am not, and I don't want to be pulled into something I don't want to be involved, accidently)...

    I'm topic'd out, so I am projecting some major antisocial DIL vibes right now. I'll be honest, I am far more of a fashion conscious, materialistic and entertainment consumer, than her. She is all about self-sacrifice and religion - so, when we talk, it's like a Panda bear (me) trying to talk to kangaroo (her) - we're still mammals, but worlds away.
     
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  2. sokanasanah

    sokanasanah Finest Post Winner

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    About herself? Psychologists appear to be agreed on this. People like to talk about themselves. We 'listen' only in anticipation of an opportunity to interject our own thoughts. Even as we listen, we are furiously figuring out what we would say next. Ask her about her life and thoughts. Silence is fine if it is companionable; otherwise, let her lead.:wink1:
     
  3. Cantdecide

    Cantdecide Silver IL'ite

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    This is a great question. I am also American (not Indian-American) and have been wondering how to relate to and chat with my potential MIL. We have lived very different lives and I think that there are probably some safe topics that I was thinking of following: generic "how was your day?" questions, "factual" getting to know you questions (what hobbies if any you have, any favorite foods, anything you want to try that you haven't yet, what do you like / not like, etc), and "advice" type questions which may be crossing into dangerous territory but I figure everyone likes getting asked their opinion (I'd keep this relatively safe too like - do you put any oils in your hair it's very nice, what kind of lotions do you like, etc.). Then depending on if there is anything in common, we could go from there? I'm nervous about it too!
     
  4. WiseAgnes

    WiseAgnes Gold IL'ite

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    Oh BB, I hear you, my MIL is also all about religion and sacrifice... Well, I am a curious person, so when I met her, I asked her so many questions about herself: her childhood, her parents, how she liked working as a teacher, how she met my FIL, about my husband when he was a little kid, about her three sisters, what was her first impression of the US blah blah blah... It really helped us to bond. I don't know if you care to know so much about your MIL, but if you do, ask away. Also, I do general chatting about interesting things I learned lately, usually science-related. She mostly tells me all the news and gossips about their relatives when we meet :laughing:
     
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  5. ashneys

    ashneys Platinum IL'ite

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    Wow you really are "topic'd" out :joycat:

    Yes, people do like talking about themselves. Your mil might be interested to talk about all her sacrifices, her life story and so on. It helps to bond as well as it makes them happy that you are listening about them.

    Also if she is a person who is in constant touch with her relatives, ask about them. Now that gossip can be fun.

    Ask the right questions at the right time. Give the oohs n the aahs. More importantly, have a lot of patience. Because if you are doing it just for the sake of conversation, it can get challenging, so try to have some real interest even if it doesn't interest you greatly.
     
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  6. YoGirl

    YoGirl Gold IL'ite

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    MILs usually like to be consulted for everything. If you are about to cook something, ask her if she likes the curry which you are going to make and ask what she likes and what her son(ur H) likes. Try to know about your H childhood and his favorites.
     
  7. SGBV

    SGBV IL Hall of Fame

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    After series of disagreements, confrontations and episodes of not seeing each other, me and my MIL finally amended our relationship a few years back.
    In fact our relationship was horrible and rocky since the very beginning. Both of us have left very bitter memories to start with.
    But somewhat, we were forced to be neighbors and relatives; hence connected a lot more than before.

    This is what helped us to progress that time.
    PS: we are two extremes, and have nothing in common except this man (my H/her son)

    1) She likes to speak a lot, rather brag a lot about her FOO.
    I just took some interest in listening to her bragging honestly. So, she went on to narrate all about her great grand father to the recent little cousin she has. Just a simple 5Ws (who, what.....) helped to prove that I am listening.
    If her story goes similar to anyone related to me, I would introduce them to her.

    2) About her son. Again she does the talking part. She speaks all about his childhood, the naughtiest pranks he did back then and how she raised him.
    This time I could visualize those funny moments, as well to connect the similarities of my son and H of that age.

    3) About some 3rd person/common person
    A common relative, friend or a neighbor and their present status
    Eg: If there is a child birth, death, problem, etc...

    4) Major trends...
    Politics, or any viral spreading, social issues, awareness, announcement etc.. we share with each other
     
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  8. mumoftwoboys

    mumoftwoboys Junior IL'ite

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    My God's grace I have a good relationship with MiL. With my first MiL there was a lot of differences as we had cultural differences as well, but even there I kind of built a rapport. Just be a curious child...avoided being the conflicted one...being relevant and on her side and putting her son as a common point between us helped. Made sure I didn't look like a treat to her in any form. Gave her the upper hand, but at the same time got my things done. But with both of my MiL's I was the curious one. I asked questions about them, their childhood, marriage, relationships and sort of related t o them at grass root level.
     
  9. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    You would think this would work. For cooking, I am well aware of her cooking style, and it's not for me. She's not a bad cook, I just don't enjoy the food, and she doesn't give adequate instruction for me to write it down. Her son...apparently has no preferences and will eat anything (as a child and now) and it's a source of pride on how adjustable he is :facepalm:. At this point, other than fish items, rasam and vada curry (my MIL's best items), he actually likes my cooking.

    I will try though, to learn the rasam and vada curry. I'm sure it would make her happy (I need to suck it up and not have so much ego about this)
     
  10. BhumiBabe

    BhumiBabe Platinum IL'ite

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    To be honest, I don't want to hear about her sacrifices (I have already heard many of them), especially since I have pushed her son far enough to get marriage counseling...in her eyes, I'm getting a golden boy and shouldn't complain.

    I'll try the relatives side, that might work well.


    Great suggestions, Everyone. Thank you :)

    Today, my MIL mentioned leg pain and needing medication. I told her to have a salt bath in the bathtub (and filled up a tub for her), and we talked about the benefits of Epson salt. :banana:
     

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