4 Ways Being a "Latina Firecracker" Helps My Relationships

Posted: Apr 21 2014

Over the weekend I was thinking about how I handle some of my relationships. And it hit me, I’m definitely Latina in many ways emotionally, more so in some aspects than others. And then I started thinking about how these Latin influences affect my relationships (both friendships and dating) along with the way I manage them. I think being this "Latina-ness" has helped my relationships in several ways over my life.

Here are some of the ways being Latina – and the term I use when I’m really beingvery Latina: “Latina Firecracker”.

Developing Close Relationships
This one is inherent from growing up with that Latin influence where it’s normal in greeting and introductions to air kiss lightly on the cheek. Also, it’s normal to live with more family members well into adulthood, and the family tends to spend a lot of time together. Having this “closeness” to people in my life has been very helpful though my mom (who is from Latin America) always tells me even this "closeness" that I’ve experienced in the U.S. is in actuality much more “cold” than what it’s like in Latin America. 

Caring 
This is definitely a characteristic a lot of folks have; and in my Latin influenced upbringing “caring” in its many forms has played a big part. So growing up it wasn’t just my mom and dad who did the bringing up. It was also my mom and dad’s friends. That term “it takes a village”. Well it definitely did growing up, and am very thankful for the great advice, nurturing, and caring from others who weren’t even related to me. They had opinions on me getting into college, career, odd-ball ideas I came up with – you name it. I am very thankful to that “village” growing up, they were awesome. This quality is something I try to bring to bear in my adult relationships.

Being Helpful
Growing up, and I don’t know if this was unique to my family – but I was tasked with washing the dishes and cleaning up the house, much more than my brother. I used to get so mad! But my brother would never do the dishes or clean – even when he was tasked. He was good at disappearing. So my mother just eventually stopped asking him. Fast forward to now, and while I hated doing it then, I make it a point to help out now be it after a dinner party at a friend’s home, or even cleaning up after work events. This past weekend I dog sat for a friend going out of town. It wasn’t something I was particularly excited about, but I knew my friend didn’t have many people to ask. So I pitched in. And thus far this spirit has served me well and I’ve learned when you pitch in, folks are often very appreciative.

Getting Mad
This one may seem counterintuitive but really it’s actually pretty important. I’m not that typical Latina telenovela dramatic type of person. In fact, it takes me a long time to get angry or upset about things. As a result, I’ve sometimes found myself being friends with or dating people who have treated me pretty badly. Yes, I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve tolerated disrespectful or otherwise negative behavior for longer periods than I should have. Inevitably though in these situations, I’ll reach a point where I just get mad. That annoyance or we can call it anger/disappointment is what enables me to eventually speak up and cut off ties to the person in question. After the fact, looking back at these situations I’ll inevitably realize, getting mad can be a good thing.

Tomorrow I'll talk about how being a "Latina Firecracker" doesn't always help my relationships.

-Zee Diaz
Zee is a writer for Hispanic.com

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