Families are becoming less and less the traditional ring of blood relatives. These days, they are more a collection of people who care about each other. And that’s not a bad thing.
However, these situations may cause a few head-scratching questions when Aunt Karen isn’t either parents’ sister. Or when your friend’s uncle is younger than she is.
How do we know who is really related to whom?
When you first meet someone, or are getting to know a new acquaintance, tread carefully here. Asking too many questions or making judgmental comments will be offensive. We suggest keeping it general by asking, “How are you two related?” Then accept the answer at face value, moving the conversation along.
If you are on the other side of this scenario, and are asked “How are you two related?” you need not feel obligated to explain your relationship in detail, or to make excuses for it. And if you are pressed by someone for details you’d rather not divulge, well, that person is offering a great example of rudeness.
While out and about, making friendly conversation with people you don’t know may open the door to comment corrections. Age is no longer indicative of whether someone is a parent, grandparent, spouse, or sibling. Never assume a relationship in conversations with people you run into at a park, while dining, or when out shopping.
In short, we must rid ourselves of assumptions regarding family relationships.
How do you handle questions about your family members? Have you been corrected when making assumptions about others’ relationships? Tell us about it here.