We tend to betray our provincialism and desire to control others in our conversations. Scarcely can we hide our mindsets, even when we try.

Anytime I have the three conversations that follow, I am deeply saddened by most of the exchanges.

Conversation One

You: Hi dear. Are you home yet? (It’s 7pm)

Me: (Ignores the over-familiarity of “dear”). Not yet. Just rounding up at work.

You: You must be a workaholic. Do you rest at all?

Me: (Thinking – How did you arrive at the certainty that I’m a workaholic from a single isolated conversation about work? Did you consider that I may have arrived at work late and so, I decided to stay on to make up for lost time? Aren’t you young? Shouldn’t you work while you’re youthful, so you can live the life you desire as you grow older? Should I be friends with anyone who makes assumptions about other people’s lives and thinks closing at 7pm is something to panic about?)

Conversation Two

You: (Starts a conversation in Yoruba)

Me: Hi. I understand the basics of Yoruba but do not speak it fluently. May we please have this conversation in English?

You: You must have grown up abroad. It’s not good. It’s a sign of bad home training and foreign tastes.

Me: (Thinking – How did your definition of good become mine? Where do you get off abusing my dead parents who spoke two different Nigerian languages? How did you assume I grew up abroad when I’ve spent my entire life here? Did it ever occur to you that perhaps what you call a weakness is actually a core strength, as my first instinct isn’t to think in Yoruba? Should I even continue this conversation?)

Conversation Three

You: Where are you from?

Me: I’m from Nigeria.

You: No, I mean, where are you from?

Me: (Cuts phone and deletes every conversation we’ve ever had. I can’t even deal with such tribalism.)

Moral of the Story

You can hold a different worldview from someone else without talking down to them, abusing their life choices or trying to fit them into your limited understanding. Be curious, be polite and ask open questions. Do not presume to know what is good for them.

You can hold a different worldview from someone without talking down to them. Click To Tweet We betray our provincialism & desire to control others in conversations. Click To Tweet