Hello, this is my first post though I've lurked a long time before joining!
I'm having a silly small problem that I can't seem to work through between the behavioral norms in my own family and those of the family I married into. My inlaws are great, no complaints! We've only been married a year but I've now had the full gamut of family parties and watched how the "kids" in the family behave when it comes to mealtime. I was raised by very old-fashioned parents and worry a lot about doing things the right way and the polite way when it comes to deferring to older family members. In my own "family culture" it is considered polite to serve elders first. When we're called to a meal the older relatives are encouraged to pass through the serving line right away so they can serve themselves from all the available dishes. Then come the rest of the family with the younger folk (tweens, teens, and young adults) holding back till last. Little kids of course go with their parents. No one enforces this, of course, it's just the everyday behavior we've all grown up with.
The family I've married into is much more laid back and has a bit of an "everyone for his or herself" vibe. I don't have a problem with that at all but it's hard for me to adjust when my instinct is to hold back in deference to older relatives. When we first started going to family parties when dinner was called my husband would often head to the table right away and encourage me not to hang back waiting for Grandpa and the Great Aunts to dish themselves up. I couldn't bring myself to be among the first to the food but I couldn't very well say, "Oh I was waiting for the older folks to go," so I settled for dawdling a bit and quietly moving to the back of the line. When I explained to my husband the problem he laughed it off saying, "We do it differently, don't worry." But it's a little outside my comfort zone. I've had the same issue with the larger parties where there's just barely enough seating for all. Even small children are encouraged to grab a spot as soon as someone gets up and hang on to it for dear life. I can't imagine taking a seat and letting an older relative stand.
Let me clarify and say I don't by any means think his family is impolite or that I'm holding some "higher" standard. We aren't even of different cultures, we're both typical Americans. We just have different house rules and it's uncomfortable to suddenly adjust from way I've been taught was polite and correct for many years and not feel bad about it. And I don't want to come off as uppity so I don't mention this to the inlaws at all. Should I go with the flow and ignore the small voice telling me otherwise or should I find some way of explaining myself-- is there even a polite way to do so? I'm an introvert so speaking up doesn't come naturally.