Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

making assumptions about family relationsships

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I was at a car dealership with my dad when I was 22 and he was in his early 50's. He picked out his vehicle and was being harassed by the outside warranty company (I have no idea why they were there since Ford sells their own). The rep was a rather slimy guy who leered at me and asked if I was his wife. My dad told him no, I was his daughter. The guy gave him a wink and an elbow nudge and said, "Oh that's too bad, I was going to congratulate you on your young wife!" I almost vomited, my dad did not look amused and refused to speak further to him and we reported it to the sales manager we were friendly with. Never saw that guy again. Who seriously says that out loud like I'm a deaf piece of property?!?!?

ETA: To make it worse, I looked no older than 17 or 18 at the time.

After working with children for a few years, I never, ever make assumptions.  I have also learned a handy phrase when needed.  Instead of saying your mom or your grandma I say your adult.  For instance when a little one is wandering around the store I will ask "Where is your adult?" and child almost always provides the information like "I don't know where grandma is.".  It doesn't fit every situation, but it really helps.

How about making a T-shirt for your daughter that has a picture of little DD and says something like best little sister ever?

I'm really not sure when you would have to make an assumption. For a professional setting like a doctor's office, I think something like "What is your relationship to the patient?" is fine to use with everyone. For a social situation, you can probably figure it out in conversation. "I don't think we've met yet. I'm Stephanie," and hope they respond with "Oh hi, I'm Susie, Bob's daughter."

This happens to me all the time since I adopted my daughter (now 4) when I was 45.  I'm assumed to be the grandmother.  Since that isn't really an "insulting" assumption, it doesn't bother me.  I just lightly say, "No, actually, I'm her Mom."

Because of this though, I'm better about not making assumptions myself.

My Dad and I have been mistaken for a couple off and on since I was a teen. I never thought anything much about it - flattered that I looked older than I was when I was younger. He introduced me as his wife to a co-worker once. LOL He immediately told her he was joking of course. We think it's kind of funny.


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