10 subtle signs your in-laws don’t like you

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Ah, in-laws. No matter where you’re from in the world, clashes with your partner’s family are inevitable. 

In fact, it’s so common that we all relate to movies such as “Monster-in-laws” and “Meet the Parents”. 

And while some awkwardness is to be expected, what happens when your in-laws simply don’t like you? 

Some may make it obvious, but others are better skilled at keeping their feelings under wraps. 

Well, you don’t have to live in constant doubt anymore. In this article, I’ll share 10 subtle signs your in-laws don’t like you (and what to do about it). 

1) They exclude you from family gatherings 

“Forgetting” to invite you is one of the subtle ways your in-laws show their dislike for you…

They’ll invite your partner around (probably keeping them in the dark too) for what seems to be a quiet evening in. 

Except the whole family is there celebrating Uncle Bob’s birthday. 

When you or your partner questions it later on, they causally brush it off…

“Oh, we thought you’d be tired from work, that’s all. Didn’t want to bother you!” 

But let’s be realistic here – if they wanted you there, they’d have invited you even if they knew you couldn’t make it! 

2) They try to avoid you 

Do you ever feel like you’re getting the cold shoulder from your in-laws? Every time you try to meet up, they’re busy. 

You hear your partner on the phone with them, but when you try to jump in to say hi, they suddenly need to rush off and run some errands. 

This isn’t all in your imagination – if you can’t seem to pin them down to meet up or chat, they’re clearly going out of their way to avoid you. 

I get how frustrating this must feel. You’re trying to make an effort, you want to be involved, and you probably don’t know what you’ve done to upset them. 

But all of your attempts are met with a stone wall. 

3) They show indifference 

But perhaps they don’t avoid you. Maybe they even invite you to family dinners and get-togethers. 

When you are around them though, they don’t seem to care either way. 

This is another subtle sign that your in-laws don’t like you. 

I’ve experienced this – an ex introduced me to his family. While they were polite, they never once asked me things like:

  • What I do for work
  • Where I grew up 
  • If I have any siblings 
  • My goals for the future
  • How I met their son 

Basically, all the things you’d expect your family-in-law to want to know! It was clear that they didn’t want to get to know me. 

If your in-laws do this, they are likely doing the bare minimum to avoid upsetting your partner. 

But how they make you feel is the deciding factor; just because you’re invited, it doesn’t mean you feel welcome or wanted. 

4) They make passive-aggressive comments 

In contrast to the previous point, if your in-laws invite you around but always hit you with those backhanded compliments and sneaky criticisms, it’s not a good sign. 

“I always admire people who never care about keeping a clean home. Good for you!” 

“You’ve gained a lot of weight…is everything okay? Comfort eating is a real thing, you know…” 

“I never knew someone could be so relaxed about letting their kids do whatever they want.”

They make it seem like they’re happy or concerned for you, but in reality, they’re just wrapping their criticisms in toxic sugar. 

It’s painful. You probably avoid calling them out on these comments just to keep the peace. 

But if each interaction leaves you feeling deflated and hurt, there’s a good chance it’s because they don’t like you. 

5) Their body language is cold

When I met my ex’s mom for the first time, I went in to give her a hug. That woman stayed stiffer than a surfboard the entire time. 

When we sat for a coffee, she angled her body away from me and never made much eye contact. 

It was clear she didn’t want to be there, she was only doing it so her son couldn’t accuse her of not giving me a chance! 

Other signs might include:

  • Not smiling genuinely 
  • Keeping arms folded 
  • Rolling eyes or huffing 

Pay attention. Non-verbal communication reveals a lot. 

6) They criticize you 

Well, we’ve covered passive-aggressive comments, but what about outright criticisms

Look, to some extent, in-laws or any family members giving advice is pretty normal. Everyone’s got an opinion, after all.

But it’s how they do it. 

My current mother-in-law and I have a great relationship. If she tells me she doesn’t think I’m eating healthy enough or that I should exercise a bit more, I take it on board wholeheartedly. 

Because she has invested in our relationship, creating trust and a close bond

But if your in-laws don’t make an effort with you, yet reel off criticisms and complaints left, right, and center, that’s just plain rude

7) They don’t give you privacy 

As a couple, you and your partner have the right to privacy. 

Your neighbors get that. Your kids, if you have them, know to knock before entering your bedroom. Your employers don’t bother you when you’re on a family vacation. 

Yet your in-laws seem completely oblivious to this. 

They regularly interfere. They pop around without giving any notice. They pass comments and judgment on private issues. 

Ultimately, it’s not just your boundaries they are disrespecting, it’s you. 

So while they might not outright express their dislike for you, they’re showing it in other ways. 

8) They never ask your opinion 

When it comes to making family decisions, do you feel included? 

Or is your opinion never requested? 

By leaving you out, your in-laws are making it clear that they don’t like you. They don’t want to factor in your likes, dislikes, or ideas.

And if you do offer one, they’ll brush it off, probably with a passive-aggressive comment like:

“That’s a nice suggestion, dear. But I think we’ll just stick to our way of doing things, it’s always worked out for us!”

At some point, you give up offering your opinion because you know they’ll reject it anyway! 

9) They never make an effort to bond with you

Has your mother-in-law ever asked to go for a coffee just the two of you? Or your father-in-law sat down with you to chat about your day? 

Quite similar to the point I made about indifference, your in-laws may act “normal” with you, but if they’ve never made an effort to actually bond with you, it’s a sign they don’t like you. 

No one is saying you have to get on like a house on fire. 

Or go deep into your family history or that time you fell off your bike when you were 12. 

But unless there is real dislike, most people will make an effort to get to know their daughter or son-in-law…at least for their kid’s sake.

Instead, you’ll notice that they never get too close. They focus their attention and conversation on anything but you. 

By taking this approach, they’re keeping you on the sidelines, never fully getting a chance to be part of this new family

10) They make comparisons 

I had to stop myself from chuckling at this one – a few years ago, my best friend (male) got engaged to a girl his mother didn’t like. 

Bear in mind, his mom and my mom are best friends, so we all grew up together. 

The night before the wedding, I was helping make some of the decorations when I overheard his mom saying, “Yep, it’s still going ahead. Unfortunately, the daughter-in-law I really wanted is sitting right here!”….Yes, she was talking about me, even though her son and I had never dated! 

But it was clear from the start, she didn’t like the girl he was marrying. She compared that girl to every other “potential” under the sun. 

So, if you catch your in-laws doing the same, I’m sorry to say, but they clearly don’t like you. 

Now, you might be feeling pretty crap after reading this article. It’s never nice to have your worst fears confirmed. 

But you don’t have to give up hope just yet. Read on to find out what you can do about this miserable situation:

My in-laws don’t like me, now what?

First of all, you need to think about why they dislike you – did something happen in the past? A fallout? Or is this completely unwarranted and they’ve been off with you since the very start? 

Here’s a plan of action:

  • First, try to speak to your partner about it. Perhaps they know an underlying reason why your in-laws don’t want to give you a chance. 
  • Secondly, speak to your in-laws. But do it in a non-confrontational way. Be genuine about how they make you feel, but also give them the space to speak freely. 
  • Take things slowly. Once everything is out in the open, you can slowly start to build a relationship with them
  • Check your expectations. Some people simply never gel. A cordial relationship might be the best you get from them, but ultimately you can’t force people to like you. 

And if your in-laws really won’t hear you out or explain their feelings? 

Set strong boundaries, focus on you and your relationship, and minimize the time you spend around them. 

If they dislike you for no good reason, you’re better off without them around! 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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