Family Etiquette? or Two Faced?

The Twinkie Sisters

The Twinkie Sisters

We’ve been spending a lot of time with family the past month due to graduation parties, baby showers, etc and I noticed something.

It’s something so subtle that you don’t really take time to notice it or if you do notice it you don’t question it. It is what it is. Period.

What is this “something” that I noticed? The fact that we act different around our families. We don’t act like “ourselves.”

Or do we?

I mean what is the real us anyways? I’ve really been giving this some thought. Am I being fake when I don’t cuss, drink or smoke around my family?

a cigarette and a beer usually go hand in hand with me

a cigarette and a beer usually go hand in hand with me

 Or is that still me. Just a different part of me?

I tend to think we’re all multi-faceted. I’m not just a friend. I’m a mom. And a daughter. And a wife. And I have different personality traits that I hone in on while I’m around them.

But what do YOU think? Do you think I’m pretending to be something I’m not if I hold back a part of me?

Do you find yourself acting different in front of your mom than you do when you’re around friends? Why do you think this is so? I mean, aren’t we all adults here and if I’m a smoking adult I shouldn’t NOT smoke  just because of the people I’m around?

If I drink should I NOT refrain from drinking when I’m around certain people in my life?

I’m really curious to see what you all think about this.


14 responses to “Family Etiquette? or Two Faced?

  1. I started going to therapy in November of 2001. And on my first visit, she asked me, “Why are you here?” And I replied, “I’m sick of being someone different in every area of my life.” And today? I’m mostly the original Kate all the time and it feels so very good.

  2. i’ve been going through something similar only it’s been with regards to other people. i’ve decided that not only is it sometimes (emphasis on the sometimes) appropriate to alter your normal personality if it will help make others more comfortable, but i’m getting really annoyed at people who don’t agree.

    so, um, you better agree.

    let’s just say i don’t necessarily agree with the “me at all costs” approach.

  3. I’m sort of different. I change a lot of what I talk about (e.g., no sex jokes around my dad). But you definitely should never get to the point where you feel “less you.”

  4. The following are comments left on my Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay a While bloggy:


    I don’t think you are being 2 faced, like you said we are multi-faceted. We don’t usually act the same way around our kids as we do our friends or the way we are at work.

    Family is kind of different, I feel more comfortable dropping f-bombs around my mom than I do around my big sister. Then again mom cusses like a sailor and sister is giving Donna Reed a run for her money…

    Maybe we learn how to modify our behavior to avoid conflict. Your behaviors are there whether or not your family sees them BUT if they don’t see them then you don’t have to hear the “you should”s that can pop up when family means well.

    OR maybe you know what you are doing is wrong and you don’t want them to see that side of you. HMMM…

    Do you ever drink and or smoke around them? Did something happen that made you avoid it?

    Great observation.

  5. The following are comments left on my Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay a While bloggy:

    Are you doing it out of respect for your elders or those who don’t smoke? There’s nothing wrong with being mindful of those who don’t smoke or drink.

    I used to smoke but never around those who didn’t smoke out of respect. My mom has horrible allergies and smoke really gets to her. I’ve never really been a drinker and I can have the mouth of a sailor but only in like minded company. Everything has a time and place. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. The following are comments left on my Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay a While bloggy:


    liked Faith’s answers I kinda feel the same way

    More importantly what really made you think about this? Was it some family upset? Or just your thinking about it later?

    I try if the family member is reasonable to be nice and do things not to upset them. Smoking does bother some people physically. I don’t smoke but when I did . I’m sure i didn’t care if it bothered my half sister the Pentecostal Holiness, we didn’t get along to begin with. I was myself and didn’t care. You see the reason-ability factor was there. She wasn’t happy about much anyway so screw it I’ll rip a big gaping hole it the unhappiness so to speak.

    We all have a generation gap so to speak, yeah we want to be cool and hip with our kids but we only go so far. Same with our kids, same with our parents it’s multi-layered. I know perceptions and knowledge about my mom had she known I knew she would have been embarrassed since she tried so hard to act like some crabby ol prude.

    Then we have that whole do as I say not as I do thing My parents were this way I try not to be this way I think, hmm if it’s not something i don’t want my kid to do,.should i be doing it.

    But isn’t it all about acceptance? I mean accept me as I am. Truth is we all are constantly evolving as the individual.s we are. hopefully for the good. So every one can accept us, not just our friends but our family too.

    Hope this made some sense, since i was a bit distracted I feel like the apphole now hahah multi tasking is crazy sometimes.

  7. The following are comments left on my Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay a While bloggy:


    Only 13% of Californians smoke according to the latest survey. So if you smoke around others you are incorrect. Unless of course you are in a cigar bar. I smoked two packs a day for twenty five years, but I quit 26 years ago when they were only about $1.00 a pack. You have to be able to afford the price. And don’t be complaining about the price of gas or don’t complain about the Governator. . Barf for the smoke.

  8. I’m merging all comments from both blogs so I can keep track of them. I’m really interested in everyone’s thoughts.

    Keep ’em coming.

    this is what I posted on Kick Off Your Shoes and Stay a While:

    Gramps I wasn’t asking what you thought about my smoking though. I was asking about what you thought about how you act different around certain people and if you do does it make you a fake.

    Sister I’ve always thought I altered “me” out of respect. But I was sitting there pondering wether I should get up and grab myself another beer then I thought, “no, Norma, you’re a little tipsy now. You should wait till your in laws leave to pour yourself another drink” and then I thought…. wouldn’t that be sooo funny if they were sitting there thinking, “Gawd.. I can’t wait to get home and have a couple of glasses of wine with our friends.”

    That would answer YOUR question, Joe… no it’s not an issue and nobody is mad. It’s just something that I started thinking about. Especially since my son is 19 now and he was hiding smoking from me for a few years (or at least I’ve known for a few years) until one day I was craving a cigarette and I knew he smoked but didn’t do it around me out of respect so I went up to him and said, “I Know you smoke. So give me a cigarette” and he was soooo shocked that I smoked. I never did it in front of them because I didn’t want them to pick up a bad habit from me.

    That in turn made me wonder what bad habits MY parents had the hid and maybe even still hide from me out of respect.

    Faith, I think it’s a little bit of every reason you mentioned above

  9. k8: I totally agree that you shouldn’t change who you are to please somebody. But I think what I am talking about is more superficial than that. (or am I?)

    kara: I absolutely agree. For example, you have a dinner party and you invite friends from different circles. Your personality is a little ummm… say… aggressive? Do you tone it down a little for those that don’t know you until they get to know you better? Or do act like “yourself” and make them uncomfortable? Does it mean you’re being “Fake” if you tone it down? Or is it smart to show someone your GOOD traits while you’re getting to know each other, then later down the line be a little more of your “bad” self.

    F.B. EXACTLY, right? No sexual innuendos around family. No EFF bombs if they don’t cuss. It’s a respect thing, right? Also? My friend from work doesn’t care about the price of tea in China but my friend from my neighborhood? Can’t get enough talk out of me about China. So I choose my conversation topics accordingly. Does it make me fake? Or I am adapting to my environments?

  10. posted by rob shock: I find I don’t really become the person I am around someone until I’m comfortable around that person. I don’t know what it is. I suppose it’s kind of an insecurity.

    I replied:

    So what kind of person are you at first? Shy and reserved? And then later? We’ve met a few times and hung out and I have a feeling I don’t know the “real” you yet. You? However… have seen one of the many “real” me’s! LOL

  11. posted by sistershereHeheh Twinkie that would be funny as hell if your in laws were just counting the seconds til they could leave so they could go get their swerve on! So you were a little tipsy no biggie. I mean as long as you’re not slobbering crying, tell me you love me cuz I love you man, projectile vomiting, I’mma kick your asses, half naked, wanna do it in the yard, top of your lungs drunk. Hehe now that would be wrong and make the in laws a little upset I think.

    I’d have never thought you to be a smoker Twink. Heh you look like such an angel! Hehe.

  12. I’m really not a “smoker” per say… sister.. I’m more of a social smoker. But I used the drinking, smoking and cussing as examples just because it’s the only things I can think of that I don’t do around certain people.

    And actually, I do drink around my family, but not to excess … but I’ve drank to excess around my friends. So do I do it because I know it’s wrong (like Faith said earlier) or out of respect (as you asked/stated earlier) or because I KNOW it’s wrong, and it’s my way of “hiding it”… so in other words, am I being two faced.

  13. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with censoring oneself a little bit out of respect for either a generational gap, or the ears of munchkins being around… it’s only natural. When my sister and I are alone, however, she gets the whole LiLu shebang…


  14. In general I just try to make sure that no one present is uncomfortable with how I act or talk. Since that is the main thing I never feel like I’m going against my “real” personality, EXCEPT when I’m with my parents but I suppose that is just an extreme example of the above. I realized at age 10 that the less personality I exhibited around them, the less ridicule I would be subjected to. Sad but true. So they’ll never know for sure exactly how different my religious and political views are from theirs, and and I guess what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

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