Feeling like a stranger in a strange land? It can be hard to start over in a new city. But part of the fun is making new connections and finding a new crew.

When my husband and I moved from Indianapolis to Denver a couple years ago, I left behind a solid core of friends that made up the bulk of my social life. I was sad to leave them, but confident I could do the same thing I’d done when changing schools as a child or moving out of state for college – maintain my old friendships and start some new ones.

While I had no problems staying in touch with my friends from Indiana, making new relationships was so much harder than I ever expected. Not only did I lack any kind of social base to start from, but I had just left an office job to start my career as a freelance writer. You don’t realize how important the workplace can be as a social tool until your only office mates are a husband and two dogs.

It took some time, but eventually, I was able to meet some great people and form lasting friendships. Here are some of the methods I tried, and how well they might work for you.

MeetUp.

MeetUp is one of the best tools to find new friends with similar interests, and almost every major city has an active MeetUp community.

MeetUp is a haven for groups based on every kind of interest imaginable. I’ve joined book clubs, art journal groups and card-game nights. Many of these have hundreds of members, so don’t expect to see the same faces every time. But if you attend the same event frequently enough, you’re bound to make some connections that stick.

Go to two or three events before you decide you don’t like a group. It can take time to get out of your comfort zone and feel at ease around total strangers, but since most MeetUp groups are based on a specific activity you’ll always have something in common.

Make sure to look at the age range of the groups you’re interested in. I once joined a movie MeetUp without realizing I was the youngest person there. I went a couple times, but ultimately decided I couldn’t make close friendships with people close to my parent’s age.

Bumble.

This tip is only for the ladies. The dating app, Bumble has a feature where women can look for other women to be friends with. When you download the app, choose the BFF setting when prompted. You’ll only see profiles of other women who want to find a new shopping buddy or movie companion.

Bumble starts by showing you a series of photos. Like many dating apps, you swipe right on the prospects you like and left on the ones you don’t. At first, I swiped right on almost everyone, but I quickly realized I wanted to be more selective.

Almost half of the girls I saw said they loved drinking wine and going to brunch – but doesn’t everyone? I decided to swipe left on anyone who had such a generic profile. I swiped right on girls who said they loved comic books, playing with their dog or reading detective novels. I wasn’t trying to be judgemental, but it’s easier to make a connection when you have something in common.

I met a couple cool girls through the app, but staying in touch on a long-term basis proved harder. That’s not an indictment of the service, but you’ll need to invest some time and energy into the app if you want it to pay off long term.

Volunteer.

When you’re in a new city, it can be hard to get the lay of the land. What events are cool? Which museums are worth going to? Where can you find the best ice cream?

Volunteering for local events is one way to have fun, explore, and make friends in a new city in the process. Most volunteer spots last several hours, so you’ll have time to chat and get to know people. Plus, you often get free swag or privileged access.

If you hear about a local event that sounds interesting, but you don’t want to go alone, contact the organizers to see if they need volunteers.

Sports leagues.

Joining a local bowling league is the best way I’ve made friends in Denver. We played one game a week for six weeks, meeting at the same time and place consistently. Having a regular time to hang out proved to be the key to making a new group of friends. When you sporadically attend functions, you don’t get the consistency that’s required to solidify new friendships. Seeing the same people once a week made it easier to develop actual relationships.

We started planning other activities together pretty quickly, like going to the movies, attending musicals and going on short hikes. Eventually we started watching “Game of Thrones” together every Sunday and later transitioned into a weekly trivia group when our bowling season ended.

Every city has local sports leagues you can join and participate in. Most people won’t care if you’re unathletic, as long as you have a positive attitude and a cursory knowledge of the sport. Often, groups go out afterward for drinks or dinner, giving you another opportunity to establish roots.

Moving to a new city is the perfect chance to find new friends and reinvent your life with people who you can enjoy time with.

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Some struggles make us lose hope. Make us feel lost. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, there is hope. There is a path to wellness.

There’s no denying it – depression and anxiety are on the rise in the United States. Whether you attribute the uptick to societal factors or heightened awareness of mental health issues, it’s clear that many Americans are suffering without a clear path to wellness.

Thankfully, treating these issues is exceedingly more simple than people realize – which isn’t to say it’s easy. There are tried and true methods that, if used appropriately and consistently, have a high chance of improving the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s a hill worth climbing.

Successful treatment looks different for everyone, so keep an open mind. Here are some basic steps to take if you don’t know where to start.

Catalog your feelings.

Writing down your feelings is one of the most basic strategies to cope with feeling anxious or depressed. The University of Rochester Medical Center recommends journaling to combat “stress, depression or anxiety.”

I write in a journal every day, chronicling how I’m feeling and what’s bothering me. When I’m in a funk I can’t explain, I automatically reach for my notebook. On a basic level, documenting your mental condition allows you to separate yourself from negative emotions by playing the part of an objective observer.

I also use thought records to document my anxiety and change my reaction to it. A thought record is a simple worksheet where you catalog what the situation is, what you’re thinking and how you feel. Then you write down how rational your thoughts are, what the more rational response would be and how likely it is that the rational response is correct. Cognitive behavioral therapy practitioners believe when they change their thoughts, they can change their feelings and behavior.

For example, if you think your friend will be mad you forgot her birthday, you could write down a thought record saying why you feel bad, what you’re thinking about yourself and what your friend’s likely response is. Thought records can help you see when you’re blowing things out of proportion and how to manage your problems more effectively.

Stay connected.

Depression often robs victims of the energy and desire to do the hobbies and activities they once enjoyed. It can take away the motivation to work out, eat healthy and stay connected to your social circle. The problem is, staying involved with your friends and pastimes is one of the few ways you can feel better.

Start small. Invite a friend or two over for a movie night where you don’t have to do anything except provide a DVD or turn on Netflix. Meet a former coworker for coffee or a drink. If a pal is having a party, try to go for at least an hour.

“I can usually count on a few things to help or at least distract me from how I’m feeling for a bit,” said Kelly Whalen of Centsible Life. “Those include reading, walking outside, petting my fluffy dog, taking a nap or a little window shopping.”

You should also consider finding a group of peers who are dealing with depression as well. Talking about your problems with people who understand can make you feel less alone in your struggles. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has an online support group you can join, as well as a private forum where you can write out your feelings.

Find a therapist.

A licensed therapist or counselor can be an incredible tool in fighting depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, many people assume that the only therapists available are ones who charge $200 an hour.

Not so. Almost everyone can find a low-cost therapist if they look hard enough. Your doctor might have some recommendations on where to look, so start there. A local university with a psychology department will also have an in-house clinic where you can meet with current students or graduates. Low-cost or free clinics often have a therapist on staff.

On average, these clinics charge anywhere from $5 to $40, and many have a sliding scale system based on income. I’ve had good experiences with inexpensive therapists and consider them a necessary tool in fighting anxiety and depression.

Talk to a doctor.

You should talk to a doctor about medication if therapy, journaling and working out don’t alleviate your anxiety or depression. Only a medical doctor can prescribe pills, so make an appointment with your primary care physician and not your counselor or therapist.

Don’t worry if it takes some time for the medication to kick in or if you don’t like how it feels at first. Many patients need a few weeks to adjust, so be aware of that. Your doctor can alter the prescription as need be if you’re not feeling better after a month or so. If you decide you don’t like it, ask your doctor how to taper off. Withdrawal symptoms are common and can be debilitating if you don’t scale back appropriately.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, it can take time to work through it. Try to find what works best for you.

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Want to keep it tight with your crew? It takes effort. But it’s totally worth it.

Developing good relationships is the primary reason we’re on earth.

Human contact is essential for both your mental and physical health. In fact, studies show that those with strong emotional ties are healthier and live longer than those without.

But building those bonds takes time and effort. Even if you consider yourself a good person, it can be hard to maintain relationships, especially as work and other commitments take more of your time.

As you build your squad, here’s how you can develop relationships meant to last:

Learn to listen.

You probably already think of yourself as a decent listener.

But consider this: Do you actually listen when your friend is or partner is talking? Or do you think of what you’re going to say in response? Do you really hear them? Or are you judging what they’re saying?

Hearing is easy, but listening is hard.

It’s hard to listen mindfully, without wondering how long it’ll be before you can say something. But listening is vital to developing a good relationship, no matter if it’s with a boss or the cashier at your favorite donut shop.

“I don’t necessarily have to agree with what’s being said, but acknowledgment goes a long way towards building those important relationships,” said Elle Martinez, author of Jumpstart Your Marriage & Your Money.

Listening is like meditation. It requires focusing on one singular object and bringing your mind back to that focus when it starts to drift. It’s one of the hardest skills to master, especially if you’ve spent most of your life half-heartedly paying attention to your friends.

Stay in touch.

How many relationships lose traction because one of you fails to keep in touch? Keeping track of people is hard, but it’s made so much easier now with the advent of Facebook and other forms of social media.

Try to stay in touch, even if it’s as simple as sending a text or message saying you’re thinking of them and hope they’re doing well. I even created a recurring calendar reminder to call my grandmother. I always forget to call her, so I set it for a time when I know I’ll be free. I also keep a stack of blank greeting cards handy so I can send close friends and family personal cards when it’s their birthday.

It takes little time to send them out, but means the world to get a hand-written note in the mail. Relationships are like cars. They need regular tuneups to function or they’ll die.

Bring up problems early.

I have a theory: the best friends I have are the ones I’ve had some sort of disagreement with. If I’m willing to bring up a difficult subject with you, it means we’re good friends.

But it’s never easy to bring up something with a close friend. I hate confrontation, and most people agree with me. Fortunately, every time I’ve brought something up, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the other person. It’s always led to a closer relationship, and I’ve never regretted it.

I usually feel uncomfortable doing this in person or over the phone, so I try to write it out. I can take my time writing out my grievances and I know that I won’t say something hastily I’ll regret later. Plus, then the other person has the option to respond in print or in person.

When you have a problem you want to discuss, try bringing it up with a neutral party first. A third-person can provide a different perspective and tell you if you’re actually in the wrong. I usually discuss friend issues with my husband first, since he can tell me if I’m being unreasonable.

Give feedback.

What most people are looking for is acknowledgment in this world. That’s why many of us seek validation through likes and hearts on social media.

Give that to your loved ones by commenting on their recent career news or by supporting their side business. Odd as it sounds, developing good relationships in today’s world includes participating on social media with them.

If your friend just started dating someone new, text her a few weeks in to ask her how it’s going. She’ll love to hear that you care about her relationship. Bring it up if you see her in person. One of the characteristics that differentiates a strong relationship from a weak one is if you bring up things that are important to your friend before they have to. That shows real commitment and dedication.

Every interaction you have, try to mention or ask something that the other person cares about. They’ll be delighted that you remember and care so much.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Make your people feel good and they’ll never forget it.

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A 5-year plan doesn’t have to be a boring cliche. Instead, create a kick-ass plan that adds meaning and purpose to your life.

It’s one of the most common questions in a job interview: what is your 5-year plan?

While you might have the right answer to give to the HR rep interviewing you, you might not know what you actually want to accomplish in your life.

Do you want to stay on the trajectory your career is on? Or do you dream about switching fields?

Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to make significant changes in your life and to fulfill your dreams. Read below to find out how to create a 5-year plan that gives you purpose.

Make a list of your dreams.

The key to creating a plan that will add value, purpose, and meaning to your life is to determine what the end goal is.

Do you dream about starting your own business or switching to a new industry? Or do you want to leave home and travel the world?

Before you can hammer out the details of a plan, you need to start with the end goal.

“Once you have an idea of what you truly want, it gets easier to work backward on the milestones you need to hit to get there,” said Elle Martinez of Couple Money.

So think of what your end goal is. Is it to stay home with your kids and not have to worry about money? Is it being able to take care of your parents full-time? Or do you want to devote yourself to the nonprofit you care so passionately about?

The idea here isn’t to reach your goals next week. You create a 5-year plan so that you can make reasonable, achievable steps. It’s about progress.

Once you know what your ultimate passion is, you can start to work backward to determine what your next steps are.

Talk to an expert.

Sometimes you need help if you’re trying to figure out what to do with the next five years of your life. After you’ve exhausted your significant other, your best friends, and your family, it’s time to find someone who knows what’s up.

Try to find an expert in the field that you’re interested in. This can be someone who graduated from the same college as you, someone active in the community, or even a person you admire that you found on Twitter.

Don’t limit yourself to local people, if you can’t find anyone who fits your description. You can contact people via Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform they might have. If you know where they work, you can reach out there.

Before you meet up, bring a list of questions with you. Nothing annoys a busy person more than someone who’s asked for a favor and who’s not prepared for it. You can create a 5-year plan that is reasonable after talking with someone who’s been there. You can create meaning and be realistic about where you’re headed with a little outside perspective.

Always send a thank-you note afterward, either by email or the traditional snail mail route. Keep in touch with that person and don’t always be asking them for a favor. You want the relationship to be reciprocal.

Follow what interests you.

For most of my high school and entire college career, I dreamed of becoming a newspaper reporter. I read the best writers, wrote as much as I could and shadowed reporters I admired. But then I got my first real reporting job at a small newspaper in Northwest Indiana and hated it.

I worked evenings and covered fires, robberies, and car accidents. In a town of 30,000, the topics we covered sometimes felt trivial.

It was then that I started blogging about living frugally. I had decided I wanted to pay off my student loans early and was trying to learn all I could about personal finance. I started reading books and blogs and finally asked my boss if I could start a blog at work about living frugally.

That’s how I discovered I loved writing about money, especially from my own point of view. I found myself focusing more on the blog than on my other assignments, and people noticed. When I left that gig to work at a nonprofit, I started my own blog. That led to the freelance writing career I have now.

If you’re not happy with where your life is going, you need to figure out where your passion truly lies. Sometimes you can only do that by giving something a trial run. There’s nothing wrong with including stepping-stone jobs and trial runs as you create a 5-year plan.

Make it real.

Sometimes it’s not enough to keep a dream in your head. You have to visualize and make it real. Try creating a vision board with images that reflect your dream and the path you’ve chosen to follow. Include quotes and inspirational figures of people you admire. You can also use a life map to set your course.

Don’t be afraid to share your dream with other people. You never know who will have the right connection or give you the best piece of advice. Plus, when people hear your dreams, they might be inspired to give their own a test drive.

The more comfortable you are with expressing your true desires, the less afraid you’ll be to really take on a new challenge.

As you create a 5-year plan meant to give the next few years of your life purpose, keep in mind that you will need to figure out the next years after that. Keep revising and updating as your purpose changes. As long as you are moving forward, and you are able to take steps to reach your goals, your life will have purpose.

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There’s a lot of suspect information floating around about money. Avoid these myths and show your money who’s boss.

Since I write about personal finance, I’m used to advising my friends about their own finances. It seems that every time I bring up the subject, I find myself correcting people.

With most of the information available readily on the internet, how is it possible that there’s so much misinformation?

But even I sometimes find out that something I believe is wrong. Personal finance is a complex topic, full of changing rules and expert advice. Read below to see if you believe any of these common money myths.

All adults need life insurance.

When I got married, I called my insurance agent a few days later to ask about life insurance. I felt so grown up, thinking about my future and impending death.

But my agent told me I didn’t need a life insurance policy. I didn’t have a mortgage or a child with my husband, so there was little reason to pay for a policy. If he died, I could still support myself.

I was relieved to know that I didn’t have to buy an extra form of insurance. I’m a fairly cautious person, but I like being able to avoid spending money if I don’t have to.

Of course, there are other factors at play, such as how much cheaper life insurance costs while you’re younger. You can also consider funeral costs for your parents if you pass. While you might not need life insurance right now, keep it on the back burner. It’s something you might consider before you hit 30 and rates go up.

Investing is risky.

Recent surveys indicate that millennials are afraid of investing, either because they don’t understand the markets or they’re shell-shocked from growing up during two recessions.

But Dani Pascarella, CFP and founder of wealth coaching firm Invibed, said that people who don’t invest are guaranteed to lose money.

“The current rate of inflation in the U.S. is around 2.2%, but most savings accounts pay less than 1% in interest,” she said. “That means if you don’t invest your savings, you are actually losing your purchasing power.”

That’s not to say that any form of investing is better than a high-yield savings account. People lose money every day in the stock market. But finding an investment that will not only beat inflation, but also provide a healthy return, is possible. You can research investing on your own, use a robo-advisor, or hire a financial planner.

And you might be surprised that you can start investing with very little. Companies like Acorns allow you to start with pocket change.

I need to keep a small balance on my credit card.

One of the most persistent credit myths is that you need to have a small balance on your credit card for the card issuer to report on your credit report. Some people mistakenly believe that if they pay off their balance every month, the issuer won’t report any activity on your account, which won’t help your credit report.

Not true. The only way a credit card company will report zero activity on an account is if you pay off the balance before the statement is posted. Once the statement is posted, you can pay off the entire balance with no fear of what it’ll do to your credit report.

This myth is dangerous because it entices people to keep a balance on a credit card that likely has a high interest rate. There’s no reason to pay interest fees every month, especially not for the false reason of boosting your credit score.

All debt is bad.

Most financial experts agree that you should avoid debt whenever possible. But not all debt is bad, and if you’re careful, you can use debt to create more revenue.

“The rich actually use it as a tool for building wealth,” Pascarella said.

For example, rental properties are a popular form of investing. Borrowers take on mortgages on properties that they believe will provide a solid stream of income. Not only do these rent payments pay for any expenses, they also provide a tidy profit.

Many business owners also got started by borrowing money, from a bank, family members or other companies. Without that initial loan, they wouldn’t be able to build their empire.

Renting is throwing your money away.

This is a myth I’ve heard a lot, mostly from people who buy a house way too quickly. They believe that a home is an investment and always better than renting.

But owning a home is expensive. Closing costs, private mortgage insurance, property taxes, homeowners insurance and maintenance fees can quickly drain your bank account. In general, if you plan to own a home for five years or less, you’ll likely lose money on the deal. That’s partly because when you first take out a loan, your initial payments mostly go toward interest. Only later do the payments skew more toward the principal.

That means if you sell a home three years after you bought it, you’ll have little equity to gain from it. Plus, the market isn’t likely to change that much in a short period of time, so you’re not able to get a huge rate of return.

Unless you plan to settle down in an area for more than five years and are prepared for the responsibilities of a house, stick with renting.

You don’t have to fall victim to these money myths. Instead, think about what matters most to you. Create a financial life around what you hope to see in your own future, and look for solid information that will help you on your path.

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Cheap labor. People who love you. Hiring family members for your business seems like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, it isn’t. It could go very, very wrong.

If you’ve ever started a company, you’ve probably at least considered hiring family. Just about everyone has a sibling, cousin, or nephew who needs a job – and may even have the skills to make it work.

In some cases when you hire family members, the arrangement can be fantastic. Not only are you working with someone you presumably have a deep personal connection with, but you’re helping a loved one and getting an opportunity to spend more time with them.

If it goes sour, all of a sudden you’re spending Thanksgiving with your spouse’s family and explaining to every nosy second cousin what went wrong.

This is so situational – and so controversial – it’s hard to say for sure what the best option is.

Before you make a decision about whether or not to hire family members, carefully think through the situation. Here’s a detailed analysis of the pros and cons to help you decide what’s best for your business.

The advantages when you hire family members.

A family member is always more invested in your success than a random stranger, no matter how carefully vetted they are. When you’re starting a small business from scratch, you want your employees to care as much about the idea as you do.

Someone who you’ve known for your entire life is also more willing to be honest with you.

It’s hard to give a new boss criticism, but a family member shouldn’t have a problem speaking up when they feel you’re leading the ship astray.

Anytime you’re growing a business, you need those working under you to give real feedback, not just what you want to hear. A strange face might be hesitant to share a conflicting opinion, but not your big sister who grew up giving you wedgies.

One huge benefit to hiring someone close to you is that they probably need less time to settle into the business. It often takes a few months for you to feel comfortable with a new coworker, but your family member should be able to dive into the culture a lot faster.

Author and speaker Kylie Travers has hired her sisters off and on since 2009 when she first started her business. She’s never had issues with working with them.

“My sisters and I think alike so it was easier having them work for me than trying to explain everything to others,” she said.

The disadvantages when you hire family members.

The biggest downside to hiring a loved one to help you with a business is the looming question of how it will affect your relationship.

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where you all end up millionaires sipping cocktails on a beach, but it’s just as likely you’ll end up bankrupt and out of business.

The fact is, most startups fail. If you’ve asked your cousin to quit his or her day job to help you with your dream, they might be resentful if it doesn’t work out.

This is even more concerning if they’ve invested their own money in the company. Do you want to be responsible for your loved one losing their house because they sunk their finances into your startup?

Doug Nordman, blogger at The Military Guide and angel investor said he doesn’t think it makes sense to hire family members. In general, he doesn’t believe they should work together.

“Spouses or siblings are not necessarily a deal-killer, but at best it’s neutral and it’s usually a negative,” he said.

Another issue is the possibility of having to reprimand or even fire your relative.

When you disagree with an employee, the incident stays at work. When you argue with a coworker who’s also your little brother, the quarrel can follow you to the family wedding the next day, or that holiday dinner six months from now.

How to make it work.

If you’re worried about potential problems but still want to hire family members to help with your startup business, it’s imperative to talk it through beforehand. Ask about their working style, any issues they’ve had in the past, and anything they’re worried about.

You can also establish some ground rules, such as no business talk during family events and no venting to outside family members about work conflicts. If the venture goes south, you don’t want to suddenly divide the family between the two of you.

Damien Peters has worked with his brother several times, but never for long durations. Though they’re close, Peters said they think too differently to work together on a permanent or full-time basis. While Peters said that plenty of family members have issues being colleagues, not every family needs to avoid doing so.

“If it makes sense for your skills and relationship, try it out temporarily and set boundaries upfront,” he said.

Before you hire your loved ones, consider working together on a temporary basis.

Agree that if either person wants to terminate the arrangement at the end of the trial period, they can do so without backlash. That way, you can experience what it’s like to work together but not be committed right off the bat.

In the end, you have to do what’s best for your business and your family relationships. You can’t get caught up in trying to force the situation if it’s just not working. With a little experimentation, you can figure out pretty quickly if it makes sense to hire family members for your business.

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Whether you plan a long relationship or a short partnership, you want your family to approve of bae. Get your family on board.

The disapproving in-laws have been a cliché for a very, very long time.

If you searched through ancient Greek scrolls or Mesopotamian clay tablets, you’d probably find a joke or two about someone’s hypercritical mother-in-law. It’s natural for parents to be protective of their offspring, and not surprising when those urges carry over well into a child’s adulthood.

Even though it’s understandable, that over-protective nature can be a relationship killer, both for the parents’ relationship with their child and the child’s relationship with their significant other. There comes a time to let go and allow children the agency to make their own decisions. Some parents never really learn that.

You want your parents to like your S.O., so it makes sense to do your best to bring them together. Or at least tolerate each other. Here’s how to help your parents find the potential in bae:

Talk to them.

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Your parents might have unfounded reasons for disliking your significant other, but you won’t know unless you ask.

Sit down with them and say, “It seems like you don’t really care for my partner. Is there something you want to discuss?” Maybe they’re concerned your boyfriend can’t hold a job for more than a few months, or that your girlfriend never tries to initiate a conversation with them. Before you can fix their relationship, you have to learn why it’s strained.

Examine their reasons.

Sometimes parents have a unique way of sensing a bad relationship before it sours. Maybe they see something you can’t, or have a gut feeling stemming from years of life experience.

Before you write off their attitude towards your significant other, consider things from their point of view. Is there truth to what they’re saying? Are you glossing over unsavory aspects of your partner’s character? Talk to some close friends and get their opinion, as they can lend some perspective to the situation.

Nip it in the bud.

Parents often come around after a while, but sometimes those attitudes take root and are hard to change. “My spouse and I have been married for over 30 years, and my parents-in-law (now in their 80s) are still not sure this relationship is going to work out,” said blogger Doug Nordman of The Military Guide. Try to talk to your parents as soon as possible, before their ideas can solidify. Talking to them early on might not eradicate the problem, but at least you can make it clear that their disapproval hurts you.

Try to talk to your parents as soon as possible, before their ideas can solidify. Talking to them early on might not eradicate the problem, but at least you can make it clear that their disapproval hurts you.

Plus, getting to them early allows you to point out the potential in bae. You can help them see the good aspects of your partner.

Step in.

Whoever has the problematic parents should take responsibility to curb inappropriate behavior when it happens. If your mother starts questioning your wife about how much she’s working or how she cooks, it’s up to you to step in. It’s easier for parents to listen to their child than their child’s spouse, and it will reassure your spouse that you have their back.

You have to be a team. As long as your partnership lasts, it’s vital that you present a united front.

Limit contact.

Until your parents change their behavior, you might have to limit how often you see, speak with, or visit them. Limiting contact is one of the few ways you can prove how hurt you are, and how seriously you take your relationship. This can be done for an indefinite amount of time, or until the parents in question agree to make amends with your partner — or at least attempt to see the potential in bae.

Be respectful, but firm.

Anytime you disagree with your parents, whether it’s about the person you’re dating or where you’re going for dinner that night, you should be polite but firm.

Snide comments or rude behavior will only make you look like a child throwing a fit. Try to stay calm, don’t raise your voice and keep your argument succinct. The more mature you act, the more seriously your parents will take you. Take the high road even if they start making personal attacks.

Remember how it feels.

Nordman said he and his wife are still hurt by her parents’ disapproval of their relationship, but they’ve used that lesson to be supportive of their daughter and her spouse.

Parents, he said, should never get a vote on if your significant other is good enough. “If that significant other is important to the happiness of their adult children, then parents should be glad that their child has found happiness and maybe even love,” he said.

Live life on your own terms.

If you’ve done everything you can to resolve the rift, then it’s time to stop worrying about what your parents think.

You can only change someone’s mind if they’re willing to let their opinion change – not a common trait in older generations.

Nordman said three decades of fighting with his in-laws has been painful, but it’s taught him to not worry about what they think. “Humans want the love and support of our parents, and estrangement is painful,” he said. “We deal with it by reminding ourselves that it’s their problem, not ours.”

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