Old People

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Kao
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Old People

Kao
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Re: Old People

Oh, You Know
It isn't until very recently (within the last year) that I've even had to deal with the elderly, as crazy as that seems.  It was with my most treasured prize's grandparents.  She is from a very family-oriented family, so winning over her family was critical to our lasting relationship.

The grandmother is very controlling and powerful woman, the grandfather is an old fashioned chauvinist.  Both of them loved me up until the incident that caused me to lose my prize's admiration.  How did I do this?  That was quite simple actually.  I didn't try mirroring them at all, but rather showed my differences while being receptive to theirs.  I was polite, respectful, and acknowledged their wisdom, while still showing that I am not trying to "win them over" by showing my contrasting views.

An example of this is when they were discussing ancestry.  Her family believes very heavily in the importance of keeping family traditions alive (even to the point they still practice an ancient Aztec dance as a family).  Where they come from is essentially what defines who they are.

When I was asked in front of the grandparents, my prize, and much of the extended family, about my ancestors, I truthfully replied that I didn't know anything about them.  My prize's uncle said, "how can you not know where your family comes from?"  I replied quite blatantly, "I'm not my ancestors.  What they did does not effect me so I don't care."  A dead silence filled the room.  It was broken with their laughter, and the uncle saying, "I can't believe you said that."


The grandparents were very receptive of me after that.  The grandfather even encouraged my prize and I to stop fighting and get close (because we weren't speaking to each other and he sensed tension between us).  This is comparably different to their initial stance toward me.

Neither grandparent initially approved of my prize and I being together because of the race and cultural difference.  Her family is southern Mexican (grandparents born and raised in Mexico), I am northern Caucasian.  When I first met the grandmother she seemed hard pressed to shake my hand (and 'southern hospitality' is second nature for them), the grandfather made racist jokes and generally gave the appearance of quiet toleration.

However, from that point on both grandparents went out of their way to make me feel welcome.  The grandmother, who the entire family regarded as the biggest obstacle to clear, went so far as to start teaching me Spanish so that we could talk more (as she speaks little English).


In conclusion, respect but don't mirror, and you are in.
My father said he knew I was a bit off ever since he took me to see Jaws as a kid, and I rooted for the shark.
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Re: Old People

SoloPath
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Re: Old People

Oh, You Know
@Solo I am surprised some of those tactics worked for you; namely the wiping the phone off for them and holding their arm.  This would seem more like you were babying them (which as you said, would offend them).  I agree with most of the other advice though.  You need to show them you view them as equals, and clearing the era barrier would also help with gaining favor with them.
My father said he knew I was a bit off ever since he took me to see Jaws as a kid, and I rooted for the shark.
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SoloPath
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