Author Topic: Play date etiquette? Update #26  (Read 5452 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Red1979

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5040
  • it's only a paper moon...
    • Subscription Therapy
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 12:51:47 PM »
I'm actually confused by the phrase "first generation immigrant".  That's not a phrase I have heard used before.  Are you confusing it with "first generation American?" 
--Red
"Pause you who read this and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, which would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

www.subscriptiontherapy.com - "I used to have issues -  now I have subscriptions"

rose red

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7605
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2013, 01:28:49 PM »
What kind of things do you think you'd say that might offend her unless it's something like politics and religion which shouldn't be brought up with anyone you don't know well.  Just talk about the kids, weather, movies, books, favorite foods, etc. just as you would with anyone. 

bonyk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 799
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2013, 02:28:25 PM »

Does she not speak English?  Or is her English limited?  I am trying to figure out what the issue is.  I on the other hand would embrace all nationalities and just treat them like a normal person.  What am I missing here?


She speaks English fine, although with enough of an accent that I have to concentrate to understand (it was a bit hard to follow her at the classmate's birthday party because it was a loud room full of excited, sugared-up preschoolers).  I also don't know for sure that she's a first-generation immigrant (it's not exactly a topic that came up), so it's really just me being worried I'll put my foot in my mouth in front of a stranger I'm expected to entertain one-on-one  :-\

The good news is I'm pretty sure Babybartfast and her friend will have a wonderful time no matter what :-)
I can understand the accent. Luckily in your home where it will be quieter, you can better understand her.  And actually after a length of time it will be easier and easier.


But I don't get the first generation immigrant comment, is this an issue?   


I think it's an issue for Slartibartfast, simply because she was searching for conversation topics to engage in with this woman.  If I am understanding her post correctly, Slartibartfast was worried that if she asked too many questions or assumed too many similarities she would appear xenophobic.

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11698
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2013, 03:15:38 PM »
I think it's an issue for Slartibartfast, simply because she was searching for conversation topics to engage in with this woman.  If I am understanding her post correctly, Slartibartfast was worried that if she asked too many questions or assumed too many similarities she would appear xenophobic.

Yes, this.  I know intellectually I'm probably not going to offend her, but my brain keeps telling me I'll say something like "So your family must eat a lot of watermelon and fried chicken, then?" - or "I love bacon!  Don't you just love eating bacon?" and then she assumes I'm an idiot because I should have been able to surmise her family keeps kosher and doesn't eat pork.  I don't know much about her country of origin - or even if she's from where I assume she's from - and what I do know is mostly based TV and stereotypes so I really don't want to rely on that  :P  It's a lot of work to pretend you don't notice cultural differences, you know?  :)

Judah

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4769
  • California, U.S.A
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2013, 03:19:04 PM »
Yes, this.  I know intellectually I'm probably not going to offend her, but my brain keeps telling me I'll say something like "So your family must eat a lot of watermelon and fried chicken, then?" - or "I love bacon!  Don't you just love eating bacon?" and then she assumes I'm an idiot because I should have been able to surmise her family keeps kosher and doesn't eat pork.  I don't know much about her country of origin - or even if she's from where I assume she's from - and what I do know is mostly based TV and stereotypes so I really don't want to rely on that  :P It's a lot of work to pretend you don't notice cultural differences, you know?  :)

Why pretend? Ask her about her culture, where she's from, what they eat, what holidays they celebrate. I don't understand why you would want to pretend she's not different. Our differences are what make us interesting.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11698
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2013, 03:27:41 PM »
Yes, this.  I know intellectually I'm probably not going to offend her, but my brain keeps telling me I'll say something like "So your family must eat a lot of watermelon and fried chicken, then?" - or "I love bacon!  Don't you just love eating bacon?" and then she assumes I'm an idiot because I should have been able to surmise her family keeps kosher and doesn't eat pork.  I don't know much about her country of origin - or even if she's from where I assume she's from - and what I do know is mostly based TV and stereotypes so I really don't want to rely on that  :P It's a lot of work to pretend you don't notice cultural differences, you know?  :)

Why pretend? Ask her about her culture, where she's from, what they eat, what holidays they celebrate. I don't understand why you would want to pretend she's not different. Our differences are what make us interesting.

I guess I feel like it would be like meeting someone in a wheelchair and focusing all your questions on what it's like to have a disability - sometimes you want to be just seen for yourself and not for whatever it is that makes you visibly different, you know?

Judah

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4769
  • California, U.S.A
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2013, 03:33:30 PM »
Yes, this.  I know intellectually I'm probably not going to offend her, but my brain keeps telling me I'll say something like "So your family must eat a lot of watermelon and fried chicken, then?" - or "I love bacon!  Don't you just love eating bacon?" and then she assumes I'm an idiot because I should have been able to surmise her family keeps kosher and doesn't eat pork.  I don't know much about her country of origin - or even if she's from where I assume she's from - and what I do know is mostly based TV and stereotypes so I really don't want to rely on that  :P It's a lot of work to pretend you don't notice cultural differences, you know?  :)

Why pretend? Ask her about her culture, where she's from, what they eat, what holidays they celebrate. I don't understand why you would want to pretend she's not different. Our differences are what make us interesting.

I guess I feel like it would be like meeting someone in a wheelchair and focusing all your questions on what it's like to have a disability - sometimes you want to be just seen for yourself and not for whatever it is that makes you visibly different, you know?

As the child of immigrants, those differences a big part what makes me me and you can't really know me without knowing about those parts of me.  I know you said that play dates with this family won't be a regular thing and you don't need to be BFFs, but if you completely avoid the topic of the family's culture, it's going to be a huge elephant in the room.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys

Perfect Circle

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2985
  • Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky...
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2013, 04:08:35 PM »
I am an immigrant and don't mind questions about my home country and culture as long as they are not the only thing discussed for hours or I'm not presented with "facts" about where I come from and my corrections are not believed in. So from my experience it's fine.

And you have the kids to talk about as well.
Maybe he's caught in the legend
maybe he's caught in the mood
Maybe these maps and legends
Have been misunderstood

The map that you painted didn't seem real
He just sings whatever he's seen
Point to the legend, point to the east
Point to the yellow, red, and green

Zilla

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6506
    • Cooking
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2013, 05:10:24 PM »
I guess there are so many other things to talk about.  The school, the weather, what hobbies etc.  And it's naturally comes around to where you grew up/schools etc.  Even just swapping stories about what your kids said/do etc.  It also sounds like she had no issues chatting from that party you met her at.  So I wouldn't even worry about it. And regarding her nationality,  I was asking because I just can't imagine it being something to worry about.  Maybe it's because I live in a diverse area and it's so commonplace to me.  So when I read your post I couldn't think of why you were even mentioning it. 

Sheila Take a Bow

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 777
  • Formerly arija but I felt like a name change.
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2013, 07:03:57 PM »
I think you're overthinking this.

And I'm telling you this as a person who does not do very well around people I don't know, for whom playdates are preceded by a sense of anxiety when I don't already know the parents.

You already have something to talk about -- your kids, the preschool, kindergarten next year.  So just talk to the other mom.  Stick to the safe subjects at first, but it's okay to ask about where she grew up or what brought her to your city.

Don't worry about offending the other mom.  If you worry about everything you say before you even say it, then you're going to end up with AwkwardFest 2013.  So just relax and be yourself, and the mother will like you enough to spend a few hours chatting with you.

Knitterly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1562
    • That other knitting blog
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2013, 07:32:08 PM »
Little Knit is only just starting to get into playdates, so it's very natural for me to hang around right now.  I have always considered playdates as being as much of a chance for me to hang around the mom and get some adult conversation in as it is for Little Knit to play with a child her own age.

So in light of that, I would say any conversation topic that you would approach with someone you want to get to know is fine here. 

I've discovered that coffee-date playdates with new moms that I'm just getting to know are very much like those awkward first dates I thought were gone forever.   ;)  You bounce around topics, making small talk until you land on a topic that you both find interesting.
Hobbies, kids, spouse, kids, coffee, kids, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhm, kids, school, work, and kids are all great topics.
Compliment her blouse or earrings and ask where she got them, mention how adorable her little one's outfit is and ask where she got it, etc.

And I agree with previous posters that it is fine to express an interest in her country of origin.  :)  I've had people inquire very politely about LK's father and where he's from and was he born here or there.  It's not offensive to me, nor is it to him. 

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11698
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: Play date etiquette?
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2013, 02:28:42 PM »
UPDATE

Turned out to be a non-issue - the woman I talked with before turns out to have been this girl's stepmom(?) and was not the same mom who brought her over for the playdate today!  It was still a little awkward, in that "what do we talk about" kind of way, but she was nice and our girls played pretty well together until Babybartfast had a meltdown and made for a really obvious end time to the playdate  :P  Serves me right for assuming based on this classmate's skin color that both her parents necessarily shared the same heritage!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 02:30:40 PM by Slartibartfast »

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5161
Re: Play date etiquette? Update #26
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2013, 02:48:02 PM »
I'm glad that this particular issue was resolved.

That being said, if this is a child that your daughter enjoys playing with, then there is a chance that you may arrange for a playdate/social time with the stepmom as well.  I think you should take the advice you got here and apply it those future situations. 

Personally, I think you were overthinking the whole thing.  You can't really judge someone's ethnic differences based solely on their looks and/or accent.  Someone that looks and speaks similarly to you, can be very different in the beliefs that guide their day to day lives and someone who looks and even speaks differently could hold ideals and beliefs very very similar to yours.

I think that how you get to know someone socially is about the same regardless of who that person is.  Start with what you have in common (the preschool and the kids) and then move on to asking her questions about herself...where she's from, how she ended up in that location (everyone has a story...even if the story was 'I was born and raised here'), work, hobbies, interests.  Only taboo subjects, I think, are taboo across the board (at least with a new acquaintance)....politics and religion.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30545
Re: Play date etiquette? Update #26
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2013, 04:42:02 PM »
Pet stories. Those always work.

Or if there aren't any pets, then sibling stories.