Get Closer with Your Cousins: Gaining Trust, Building Relationships & More

Thứ sáu - 26/04/2024 23:11
Family psychology experts weigh in on how to build a friendship with your cousin For some people, a cousin is like a cross between a sibling and a friend, and the relationship can be very deep and close. Others are more distant with their...
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For some people, a cousin is like a cross between a sibling and a friend, and the relationship can be very deep and close. Others are more distant with their cousins—maybe they live far away, or there are family problems that drive them apart. Whether you want to reconnect or simply grow closer as friends, there are plenty of ways to turn the cousin relationship into something fun and special for both of you. In this article, we’ll show you the best ways to build a trusting, lasting relationship with your cousin. Let’s dive in!

Things You Should Know

  • Ask your cousin questions about their life to show you’re interested in them as a person and to find things in common with them.
  • Spend time together outside of family gatherings (if you live close to each other) to grow closer and learn to trust each other.
  • Stay in touch with text messages or on social media when you’re apart, even if there’s family tension that makes getting together difficult.
Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Relating to Your Cousin

  1. Step 1 Find things you both like to do through conversation.
    If you’re struggling to find things to talk about, ask your cousin questions about their life to find things you both have in common, from personality traits to similar hobbies. Look for common ground to build your friendship with your cousin (this will give you a starting point for your interactions).[1]
    • For example, maybe you both like to play online games or enjoy Pinterest. Try setting up a match against one another or following their Pinterest boards.
    • Use a lack of common interests to try something new. For example, if your cousin loves hiking and you’ve never tried it, consider a hike together. You might enjoy it and even if you don’t, it will still help them like you more because it shows you’re open to new experiences.
  2. Step 2 Talk and laugh together often in person or online.
    Talk to your cousin as often as you can to build your relationship quickly. Connect with them on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or send them texts or messages through apps like Viber or WhatsApp. By keeping your conversations positive and light, you will laugh often and strengthen your relationship even more.[2]
    • Try online video chatting through applications like Skype or FaceTime. These platforms make it easy to stay in touch in a much more personal way.
    • Remember to stay positive and respectful during conversations. Try not to insult or hurt your cousin, especially if there’s family drama already causing tension in your family.
  3. Step 3 Do fun activities together when you see each other.
    Having a good time together helps build your relationship and trust. If you find yourself and your cousin looking for something to do at your next family gathering, try putting on a movie or playing a game you both enjoy, chatting about sports or other common interests, or bonding while you prep holiday meals or put up decorations together.[3]
    • Be flexible in what you do. You might not love every activity your cousin suggests, but being adaptable will help build your relationship. Your cousin should respect your choices, too.
    • When you’re hanging out, make your cousin laugh or laugh at something funny they do to help get them to like you. Everyone loves a person who makes others feel happy!
  4. Step 4 Show genuine interest in your cousin.
    Listen to what your cousin says and comment on things you find interesting or relatable to keep your chat going. This shows that you pay attention to what they say and are genuinely interested in them and your relationship.[4]
    • Ask them questions—it’s one of the best ways to show interest in your cousin! Start as simple as “What do you like to do?” or ask them about school, where they live, or what they’re looking forward to.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Gaining Your Cousin's Trust

  1. Step 1 Strengthen communication between you and your cousin.
    When you chat with them, be a good listener to what they have to say to show them you’re serious about them and your relationship. Nod, make eye contact, and add on to their talking points to reassure them that their interests and problems are important to you.[5]
    • For example, if they're having trouble in school or with friends, talk to them about their feelings and help them find a solution to the problem.
    • Be consistent in your communications. This doesn’t mean you have to respond to messages or calls immediately, but having regular contact will build trust between you.
    • Share secrets with one another to establish trust and closeness. Just make sure not to tell anyone their secrets because this may lead to conflict.
  2. Step 2 Reach out when you feel like you’re drifting apart.
    Contact your cousin to put you on the right path to gaining their trust and getting them to like you. Keep your first messages simple so that you don’t overwhelm your cousin. It might take several attempts to engage them in conversation, especially if you were previously distant or estranged.[6]
    • Start with a simple message like, "We used to be so close and I have missed you. It would be great to be in contact more frequently if you like." This lets them know your feelings and puts the ball in their court regarding future contact.
    • Reach out to your cousin through whichever platform feels most comfortable for you. Try a text message, phone call, social media DM, or even an email if that’s what they’re used to.
    • If you’re not sure what to say, simply give your cousin a follow on social media. Even this small gesture helps pave the way for further communication.
  3. Step 3 Be respectful...
    Be respectful of your cousin and their family. Make your cousin feel comfortable and relaxed when you’re talking or spending time together. Your cousin and their immediate family may have different beliefs and values than yours, so respect and appreciate those differences without passing judgment.[7]
    • Being respectful of them and flexible in your own behavior will help gain their trust and get them to like you more.[8]
    • Try not to insult your cousin or their family members, even if there’s tension between your branches of the family. Taunting, tattling, or telling their secrets to others are also signs of disrespect.
  4. Step 4 Spend time with each other outside of family gatherings.
    Once you’ve had a chance to establish consistent contact with your cousin, suggest meeting in person. Find time for the two of you to get together outside of family weddings, funerals, or holidays, since these occasions can often be stressful or emotional.[9]
    • Keep your first meetings simple. Suggest coffee, lunch, a movie, or a sporting event if you live near each other.
    • Meet for longer periods once you have had a chance to see each other in shorter spans. If you’re far away from one another, schedule video calls or try to go on a trip together.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Maintaining the Cousin Relationship

  1. Step 1 Stay in touch through the ebbs and flows of your relationship.
    It’s natural for there to be periods when you won’t be in very close contact with your cousin or be able to get together often. Stay in touch with them through social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or feel free to call or text them. Even sending a simple message like “Hey there, hope you’re doing well” lets them know that they're important to you.[10]
    • Online video chatting through platforms like Skype or FaceTime also make it easy to stay in touch in a more personal way.
  2. Step 2 Continue to show you care.
    Beyond staying in contact, show your cousin that you care about their problems or important dates. Write down birthdays, anniversaries, and important upcoming events so that you send your cousin well wishes on these dates. If they’re going through a hard time, offer to help them out or suggest solutions to their problems.[11]
    • For example, offer to babysit when their regular sitter cancels, help them with homework, or help them shop for a special item of clothing.
  3. Step 3 Try to keep your relationship positive.
    It’s normal to have ups and downs in any relationship, even with cousins. Keep your behavior towards your cousins respectful, positive, and empathic to maintain long term closeness. Be consistent with your emotional support, caring, and interest in them even through rough times—consistency is the key to building trust.[12]
    • You’ll occasionally have negative emotions or moments in any chat or interaction. Do your best to handle these situations in a calm and respectful manner and then move on.
    • Avoid family drama to help keep the relationship with your cousin respectful and positive.
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