Last week I asked readers which tools people should carry around in the Family Relationship Toolbox. Here’s a distillation of their comments, along with my annotations.

The Acceptance-of-Differences Tool: Employing this tool takes practice and skill. You know. Like using a power drill. Or a hot glue gun at Craft Night. I liked the observation from a reader who said, “Speak in terms that acknowledge and accept differences. Speaking and acting like every family member believes the same things and shares carbon-copy views inevitably alienates people and makes them feel unwelcome.”

• The Establish-and-Respect-Boundaries Tool: Oh, boundaries. Some people don’t have any. Others have way, way, way too many. (Vulnerability, P.S., can be a useful tool.) But yes. Setting boundaries — together if possible — helps. And taking the time to understand what other people’s physical and emotional boundaries are is important. As Robert Frost said in one of those famous poems he was always writing, “Good boundaries make good neighbors.” Or whatever.

• The Choose-Not-to-Take-Offense Tool: One reader said she “always assumes the best of intentions were meant unless proven otherwise.”

• The Keep-Your-Damn-Mouth-Shut Tool: This tool was also described as the Holding-Your-Tongue Tool, as well as the Mouth-Zipper Tool. Sometimes silence really is golden.

• The Keep-a-Confidence-So-Your-Family-Will-Feel-Safe-Telling-You-Stuff Tool: This one is related to the above tool in the same way that a Phillips screwdriver is related to a slot-head screwdriver, obviously.

• The-Pick-Your-Battles Tool: Or as a reader said, “Save your ammo for really important battles.” Sure, there are times when family members need to be called out by one another. But does it have to be about everything? Um. No. As my old debate coach used to say, “All emphasis is no emphasis.” If you’re always yelling, people stop listening.

• The Lower-Your-Expectations Tool: Yes! This! At some point I realized that letting go of perfectionism and lowering expectations is the key to happiness in this super messy world. (Not that I was into perfectionism much. “That’s good enough for me” is my favorite phrase.)

• The Remember-What-Attracted-You-to-Each-Other-in-the-First-Place Tool: Kids and parents don’t (usually) get to choose each other, so maybe this applies more to couples. In heated moments when you really don’t like each other, take a minute to remember when you did. And if you can’t, feel free to make something up.

• The Remember-to-Treat-Your-Family-Like-You-Treat-Your-Friends Tool: Oh, hey. It’s so easy to be nice to friends because you often see each other when you’re at your best. Like, you’ve all taken showers and groomed before meeting each other for lunch. And then you tell amusing stories you all haven’t heard a million times before. So, yeah. Friendships can be easy-peasy compared with family relationships. But think about treating family the same way you treat your best friends.

• The Laugh-a-Lot-Together Tool: This was one of the most popular responses. It’s very true that when you’re laughing with each other instead of at each other, a good time will be had by all. As I always say, have fun together and laissez le bon temps rouler! (Except that I don’t always say it in French.)

• The Forgiveness Tool: I’m embarrassed to say I once had a hard time getting a handle on this tool. When it came to holding a grudge, I WAS ON IT. Fortunately, I’ve screwed up enough (!!!) in this life to know how good it feels to be forgiven. And to forgive.

• The-Take-a-Deep-Breath Tool. Take a breath and count to 10. And, if that doesn’t work, then take a deep breath and count to 100, as one reader suggested. Which brings us to breathing in general. The meditation tools found on this website are genuinely helpful. (Thanks, Steve, for the recommendation!)

• The Willingness-to-Ask-Yourself-Why-This-Is-a-Problem Tool: One reader said that asking herself this question allows her to let family members go ahead and make their choices while she tends to her own garden.

• The Listening Tool: I think this is one of the most important tools in the toolbox, don’t you? This essential tool is also closely related to the Learn-How-to-See-Things-From-Another-Point-of-View Tool, as well as the Willingness-to-Be-Persuaded Tool. It’s always great when you feel as if someone has made a genuine effort to listen and understand what you’re saying — even if they disagree.

• The Gratitude Tool: Don’t forget to review on a regular basis why you’re grateful for the people in your family.

• The Kindness Tool: Really, this tool comes in handy for most any job, so if you have to choose just one tool to carry around in your back pocket, make it this one.

Got a question for Ann? Email her at askann@sltrib.com or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.