Relativity

This is something that everyone can relate to. Simply put, what I mean by relativity is perspective. Your perspective and the perspective of your interlocutor, the context of the situation and possible hidden factors not apparent to the other person.

For example, my mother might be complaining that her parents keep telling her that my uncle has made an “appointment” to Facetime them. Thus, she complains, whenever she wants to talk to her parents, she has to keep in mind the time when my uncle is going to call so that the two calls don’t interrupt each other. By saying this, she implies that her parents are favouring my uncle because they specifically set aside time to talk to him while if my mum wants to talk to her parents, she will have to first make sure she doesn’t call when my uncle is calling. The example is a bit complicated to explain, but that is the case in a lot of interpersonal interactions. However, if you don’t understand the gist of it, please ask.

Now onto the perspective part of the example. My mum’s perspective is quite clear: her parents are prioritising her brother’s calls over her’s. Now here comes the hidden factors. My uncle works long hours each day and therefore means that he cannot call his parents whenever he wants. My grandparents live on the other side of the planet meaning nighttime here is daytime there. My grandparents must also be home and not busy in order to Facetime. There is an inference to be made here: if my uncle wants to make a call to my grandparents, he will have to find a time that fits both him and his parents, ergo an “appointment”.

Meanwhile, my mum is a stay-at-home mother so that means she can call my grandparents whenever she thinks they’re free and whenever she has spare time; a much larger time window than what my uncle has. So of course, her brother’s calls do take precedence to her calls, but the context of the situation and the reason as to why my uncle’s calls take precedence is also different. Therefore, it is not that my grandparents favour my uncle, it is the demand of my uncle’s situation.

Now, in this situation, if my mum was an intensely jealous person or somesuch, there would be a confrontation and other things may follow. Even to a more balanced person, the idea of their parents favouring one of their siblings is unpleasant and can lead to resentment etc. So these sort of small misunderstandings can actually have quite a large impact and that is also why people should, in these situations, resist the urge to react emotionally and instead think logically as to give the truth a chance and avoid any future unpleasantness.

What do you guys think? Do you have any examples from your life? If you have any ideas for future discussions, please feel free to e-mail me at terror6586@gmail.com and fill in the subject space with Outlet.

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