Greenflags in relationships part 6.1

Being respectful of other people cultures

You may be thinking that this is just a given, but it’s not. We need to start talking about it more. This green flag is probably one of the biggest ones that we don’t give people credit for. We might simply think of the person as being just generally nice, well-spoken, and/or considerate.

But let’s break it down to show you the red flag so you can more appreciate how much of a green flag this can be. This will be a three-part series just on respecting other people’s cultures. This is part one.

I wanted to talk about specific things in culture that could honestly leave you having better relationships as a whole with people.

Respecting someone’s food culture.

Recently a TikTok creator made a video about making omurice but without “all the nastiness”. If you didn’t know, omurice is a popular Japanese food. It is made with egg and is a staple in Japanese cuisine. The video is gone, but there is an important lesson to be learned.

 How easy it is to have a bias towards cultures they know little about. As many pointed out, there are many European dishes made with runny eggs, that I’m sure she wouldn’t use those same colorful words for. Imagine looking at a dish you have no cultural context for nor have ever tasted, and deciding it’s nasty. Not only that you feel the need to broadcast your uninformed opinion to the world.

Storytime. I had a couple of roommates and one came home while I was cooking. She announced how bad my collards (green) smelt. Rather you like the smell of cooking collard greens or not, there’s a way to talk about people’s food, and these just aren’t it. 

Storytime #2. So I was at a get-together where everyone made a dish. A friend of mine who is Indian made a sweet rice pudding. That I noticed was, for the most part untouched. And it made me realize how I was raised made me very open to foods that were different from my own. And how unless it was trendy many aren’t.

 What is important is knowing how to appropriately respond to textures, smells, and foods that you are not used to. You do that by keeping words such as disgusting, nasty, smelly, icky, gross, different, strange, unique, and weird to yourself. After you hold in those words, consider why you feel this way.

How are foods people have been eating for thousands of years unique or strange? It’s not strange, you’re ignorant about that culture. There are billions of people in this world. You’re not going to know everyone’s food, being ignorant in this context is ok. Being judgemental and rude is not.

 Someone eating with their hands isn’t gross. Those kinds of food cultures have existed for thousands of years and will continue to exist regardless of how sanitary you may see it as. Imagine your favorite food of your culture, now imagine someone telling you that because they’ve never heard of it it’s strange, smells weird, and is disgusting. Why oh, because it doesn’t stand up to the standard of their food culture. See the problem? 

The green-flag people are green flags here because it automatically tells you how worldly and/or well raised a person is. 

You might be thinking, isn’t this just being respectful, a part of it is. But the problem lies deeper than just not saying it out loud. It’s also about the way you think. But for example, thinking a food to you is unique isn’t rude, it’s just uninformed, especially of old traditions. Is it new or rare, or is it just new to you? Thinking that ramen isn’t healthy because of the way people like to eat top ramen in the U.S. isn’t rude per se, but it is inaccurate. It’s thinking that kimchi can’t be good because it’s fermented cabbage, but you enjoy cheese and other aged foods.

I could probably write a whole thesis paper on this alone. But green flag people are willing to try your culture’s food and others without judgment. They’re going to try your big mama’s, abuelita’s,halmeoni’s, and nana’s food without you having to worry about them offending your grandmother because they won’t even try it. 

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