Quarreling relatives may try to drag you into the fray. But getting entangled adds to your stress and may strain the family further. Instead…

Don’t become a mouthpiece. Suppose Mom is angry with your brother, but she’s afraid to confront him, so she complains to you. You carry messages back and forth… and the people directly involved never talk honestly together. When negotiations fail, combatants blame you. Solution: Say, “I can’t play peacemaker. Please resolve this by talking openly to each other.”

Redirect the conversation. When a squabbler complains, refocus on the steps to resolution — communication, compromise, forgiveness.

Refuse to take sides. Simply state, “I love you both. It upsets me that you’re not getting along.”

Keep your complaints out of the mix. Adding your own accusations — “You’re mad at Sis for not lending you money? I’m mad at her, too, for forgetting my birthday” — only compounds the current conflict.

Suggest outside help. If feuders can’t reconcile, urge them to see a therapist, clergy member or lawyer. But don’t find a mediator for them — it only deepens your involvement.

Exceptions: A crisis does warrant stepping in. Examples: When there is abuse… a crime… significant emotional harm to a child… addiction… or any suspicion of suicidal thoughts.

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