4 Ways Being a "Latina Firecracker" Doesn’t Help My Relationships

Posted: Apr 21 2014

Growing up with a Latina mom, I learned things like how to heat tortillas on the comal (the hard flat iron pan) without burning my fingers, all before I even hit 6th grade. I learned about my mom’s life; growing up in a poor 3rd world country and how she found herself in the U.S. in her mid 20s. But she was also a very passionate mom, so I grew up not trying to copy that passion but living in the shadow of it. And in fact, while my temperament (I think :) is much more even keel, there are times I wonder if some of the "firecracker-ness" didn’t rub off on me. 

Here’s some ways I handle some of the firecracker-ness (that’s what I call it) that arise in my relationships.

Jumping off the Handle

So sometimes depending on what is going on in my life and the other person, I can overreact and even I see it after the fact. In the moment though, it is generally not so obvious and I often live to regret it. Every year I feel I’ve conquered this (and granted it happens less now), but inevitably I’ll run into an issue where I jump off the handle and after a while I’ll feel apologetic, or regret my “over–dramatization” of the matter. 
Ways to fix: Commit to a way to fix this, which I’m thinking will be a counting down from 20 if I get upset about something

Getting Annoyed when People Say Things They Don’t Mean
As a Latina, I grew up with people saying things they don’t mean. I think this is just something that’s very typical in Latino culture. “Yes, vamos a lonchar” or “si estamos en contacto” or “oh, let’s see each other and go shopping” and no matter all these said good intentions, the stuff never happens. ERgh. I get so annoyed!! I’m very American in that if you say something, then do it. If you don’t mean it then don’t say it! So when I meet people and after a while realize they are this type of person who says things they don’t mean, or is always canceling, well I quickly shut down, and cut ‘em off- cold turkey. That said, I wish I had the ability to be more tolerant – but quite frankly I get quickly annoyed on this one.
Ways to fix: Learn to cut folks a little more slack, cause life happens, and they may have good intentions but just be busy etc. I need to practice taking these types of folks on their own merits, and getting less annoyed when I hear them say polite phrases they don’t mean. Patience!

Talking Things into the Ground

Growing up around my mom and her friends, they would talk things into the ground. They’d get together for lunches, playdates for the kids and just take a subject and talk about it and then talk about it some more. As I grew up and headed out into college and then the corporate world, I learned people weren’t so interested in spending time talking about a subject until all parties run out of breath.

Ways to fix: So this one is pretty easy, it just takes a little emotional intelligence. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at this. Another way to fix this is to move to New York City. Nobody has time to talk about anything, so you’ll learn real quick to get to the point fast!

Emotional with Folks; or Emotional When Speaking

This one can be a little tough. I’m used to expansive emotions, hugs, greeting people with air kisses on the cheeks etc. But operating that way in a place (the U.S.) where most folks didn’t grow up like that, you learn to temper that emotion. I remember during one of my college internships I left a voice mail for the team. It was a very formal environment, and my voice mail tone was extremely joyous, like I was talking to a best friend. (Probably like my mom chatting to her friends…) Obviously I got some feedback on that call, and it was “tone it down” and “keep things to a more even keel”. I look back now and just grin in embarrassment when I think about that phone call! 
Ways to fix: This one doesn’t necessarily need fixing. Now I just make sure that actions suit the environment. If I’m at work, it’s a corporate environment so I act and speak appropriately. With friends, feel free to be emotional, it’s important to let folks know who you are.

-Zee Diaz
Zee is a writer for Hispanic.com


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