Rudeness is for the Rich: Wealthy People Make Poor Conversational Partners: Scientific American
I found this article surprising in some ways and sad in so many other ways. I did not grow up in a wealthy family. At one point during my childhood there were 4 generations living under one roof. I grew up in a house where there was always someone home, someone to talk to. I was never lonely. I never lacked a conversation partner.
My parents were and still are friendly people. My father would get out of the car at gas stations and talk to the attendant. He could talk to anyone. In the 70s, my parents joined a “van club” and we started traveling all over the East Coast with the club, going to Truck Ins and van shows and camping as a group. I was quickly socialized to be able to chat with all sorts of adults and kids. This training has served me well. I’m not super extroverted; but, I have little trouble talking with anyone in small group settings.
I’m curious about this wall between the wealthy and the world. What are they missing out on?
A few years ago, while living in Saint Paul, MN, my across the street neighbor began to have trouble with some college students 2 doors down who were under the mistaken impression that my neighbors had called the police on one of their parties. At one point, they T.P.ed my neighbor’s yard. My neighbor, wanting to start a healing dialogue attempted to talk to two of the students. The young men were students at a small Catholic college known for having a wealthy student body. These men were no exception. One of them drove a car that cost more than my house. My neighbor asked the young men to clean up his yard and explained that his children didn’t understand what was going on and were scared by the attention aimed at their house. They students came across as not really caring about my neighbor or his family and didn’t really see what the big deal was. My neighbor again asked that they clean his yard up and the one young man responded: just call your service. At first my neighbor didn’t even understand what he was talking about. When it finally dawned on him, he informed them that he didn’t have a “service” so the boys would have to clean it themselves.
I remember being astonished by this conversation. First of all, I’m pretty sure I had never met anyone who had a “service” that they could call to clean up all their messes. Secondly, I had met wealthy people before and not really noticed this level of poor communication, as if they didn’t need to be bothered with listening. Part of it may just be the arrogance of youth. But, my immediate next door neighbor was also a house filled with wealthy college students. These students were respectful and polite. One of them cleaned our gutters and shoveled our snow while I was recovering from a scooter accident. Just nice young men. I even called the one man’s father, who owned the house, to tell him what a nice young man he had raised.
I don’t know how I feel about this article. Confused. I’ll leave it here for now and perhaps revisit it in down the road.
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