Relatives / Classification

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Who are these people?

“God gave us our relatives; thank God we can choose our friends” Ethel Watts Mumford

Anyone who is lucky enough to be a part of a big family and is able to spend time with them should consider the individual personalities that collectively define their family’s dynamics. Each member has different traits and experiences that make them who they are. Over the years I have attended countless family dinners and events and have taken note of a few extreme characteristics that set some of them apart. We all have similar interests, but the way people interact with each other (specifically at family gatherings), is indicative of their true natures. I have used my recollections of the behaviors I observed to define three types of family members. I will refer to them as: bigheads, whiners, and levels.

Let’s look first at the most obvious, memorable type; the bigheads. They tend to want to be at the center of attention at most family gatherings and they know the best way to accomplish this is to dominate as many conversations as possible. They do this by speaking as often and for as long as they think someone is listening. Bigheads usually speak a little bit louder than everyone else and frequently convey an exaggerated sense of passion for their point. They typically seem to have more than enough knowledge to hold forth on every subject. Bigheads are especially discerning as to how everyone else should be managing their affairs. They ardently display their knowledge at every gathering by speaking with self-appointed authority about whatever topic that may come to light. Lying in ambush disguised as courteous listening, they wait to have the last word, and then they bestow their wisdom upon the family and wait again, patiently gloating, prepared for the awe and amazement that should follow any great speech. They follow up with an extensive array of tales of one-upmanship. Desiring to appear the font of all wisdom, they are...
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