Some conversations I have had with my friends / relatives and a few things I noticed in a couple of social gatherings got me thinking ‘Why seemingly reasonable, logical, empathetic people react / behave differently with others given the same type of situation they are in?‘
A few examples of those instances are below:
Scenario # 1: A Wedding
Two elderly ladies conversing… Lady 1 asks about Lady2’s daughter and why she isn’t at the function. Lady1 replies, ‘Oh, my daughter is very busy with work and her family. Sunday is the only day she gets to relax’. Now, the same question comes up about her daughter-in-law. Lady1 answers, ‘She doesn’t like to socialize much; she just wants to spend time with her family and husband’.
Scenario # 2: Family get-together (Attendees being Elderly folks, middle aged men and women, kids in their teens and 20s)
A lady hosting the party is wearing a pink colored sari and a 20 year old girl wearing a dress in a similar shade pink. Another lady, who happens to be the Mother-in-law of the hostess and grandmother of the 20 year old girl comments on the sari and dress. ‘Oh! That pink color; in our days we called it ….. Pink. It is not our type!!‘ targeting the daughter-in-law’s saree. ‘Ah! My granddaughter is looking so pretty in that pink ghagra. She bought it from a designer boutique!!‘
Scenario # 3: Getting ready for an Important Festival
A daughter is talking to her sister-in-law (SIL) about festival preparations. She is advising her SIL to keep her Mother’s involvement in festival preparation to a minimum as she is getting old. That same lady when discussing about preparations at her place, she says, ‘Oh, my in-laws are visiting us for the festival; I will leave all the pooja related work to my Mother-in-law; I will take care of the rest‘. Her Mother-in-law is older than her Mother.
In all the above cases, situation was the same, people involved were also in similar circumstances, the only difference being the type of the relationship they shared with each other.
In the first case, both the daughter and daughter-in-law are in similar situation. Both are working, both have families to juggle, kids to care for. But, the elderly lady wore the ‘Mother’ and ‘ Mother-in-law’ glasses while passing her judgment.
In the second case, apparel color remained the same. Reaction was based on Mother-in-law and Grandmother relationship.
In the third one, a daughter viewed ‘the elderly lady helping out in festival prep‘ in two different lights, it was perfectly fine and expected when it was her Mother-in-law helping her out, but burdensome if her Mother helped her Sister-in-law.
For a moment, let us imagine these people forgot / put aside the Type of Relationship they shared and looked at the other person just as another human being. I bet you, they would have been compassionate, objective, and logical towards everyone involved.
Isn’t it better to look at a person for who he / she really is and find happiness instead of pointing out shortcomings / passing hurtful comments based on the type of relationship? We will the have more meaningful, healthier, and happier relationships.
I am sure there are plenty of people who are trying to nurture healthy bonding with others. Such efforts will be fruitful if all involved parties do his / her part.
A relationship is a two-way street; it will eventually fade out if not reciprocated. We can’t and shouldn’t take anyone for granted.