How to Stop Competing with Your Sister-in-Law: 4 Steps

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How to Stop Competing with Your Sister-in-Law: 4 Steps
How to Stop Competing with Your Sister-in-Law: 4 Steps

Competition among sisters-in-law can be common in some families, which can lead to a problem not just among women, but in the entire family. Whether it's your husband's sister or your brother's wife, nipping this competitive behavior in the bud will be helpful if you want to have a great time at family home evening.


Stop Competing With Your Sister in Law Step 1

Step 1. Do not enter the competition

Does it really matter if she is thinner or has more money? Who is scoring the points? You? In the end, the person who appears to compete is actually the one with the lowest self-esteem. The reason she competes with you is to feel better about herself. If you get rid of the competition and avoid having problems with it, you can get rid of the difficult task of trying to outdo each other.

  • Let her have the stage to yourself. She obviously needs attention, so instead of trying to get over what she's saying, let her talk. Let her talk freely about what will make her superior, while all the while you tune out and daydream.
  • Smile and nod, but don't react. Don't join her with extra questions or conversations. Just smile and nod when she starts talking incessantly about the new car or the expensive ring. Soon after, she will run out of ideas and shut up.
  • Refocus during a "competitive" conversation. If she starts to get too aggressive or competitive, change the subject to another topic, such as a close family wedding or a benign topic in the news.
Stop Competing With Your Sister in Law Step 2

Step 2. Show the limits when it comes to family

She may want to be better in every situation (which is fine). However, when it comes to your husband and children, show the limits and disapprove of her.

  • Consider keeping your children's personal lives private. If she uses children as an influence, don't share personal things about her children. Allow the sister-in-law to talk about her children, but don't tell them about things or problems yours may be going through (which can give her more strength for comparison).
  • Avoid bragging about your husband's achievements. Another point of contention may be your husband. Whether her brother or brother-in-law, she can compare her husband to yours, so take any possibility out of the equation.
  • Tell her that you refuse to compare your children to hers and that she must stop immediately. Be clear about how you feel. If you feel that she continues to push the line, you should draw attention to her behavior and let her know that you don't appreciate her behavior.
Stop Competing With Your Sister in Law Step 3

Step 3. Be astute to see if she influences your mother-in-law

Could she be trying to sabotage your image for her mother-in-law or painting you in a negative way? If your mother-in-law is her mother or both of you are in the daughter-in-law position, make sure she isn't trying to destroy your relationship to look good in her eyes.

  • Never talk about your sister-in-law in a derogatory way to your mother-in-law (even though she was possibly talking about you). The mother-in-law can see what's going on if your sister-in-law is speaking ill of you to her, so resist the urge to speak ill and choose to have your head held high instead.
  • Pay attention to misunderstandings your sister-in-law may have raised. If you notice that your mother-in-law is treating you differently or behaving strangely, do an investigation to see if your sister-in-law started a rumor or speculated your mother-in-law about you. You may need to rely on a confident family ally (just don't let on your true intent).
  • Consult with your husband if your sister-in-law seems to be trying to sabotage your relationship. If she's your husband's sister, ask him to do detective work and find out if she's gossiping about you to your mother-in-law behind her back. However, only involve the husband if you cannot handle the situation alone and/or if the issues get out of hand so that you cannot resolve them yourself.
Stop Competing With Your Sister in Law Step 4

Step 4. Limit interaction with your sister-in-law

You may not be able to avoid it completely (due to holidays or family interactions), but you can spend more time with other relatives during meetings.

  • Focus on the people who enhance your life. Rather than sinking into your sister-in-law's negativities, focus on a positive relationship with other family members.
  • Be cordial, but don't get too intimate with your sister-in-law. Never be rude, but refrain from being extremely warm or open to your sister-in-law. Consider the relationship as if it were a "business" rather than on a personal level. Be professional but not personal.


  • If you find yourself getting hurt or upset, take a deep breath, remember what's happening, and relax. It's very easy to get involved in the moment, especially if she's teasing you.
  • Try to realize that your sister-in-law may be threatened or admire you, causing her to become competitive. Instead of getting angry, consider that she is insecure and trying to find a way.


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