A close relative was recently engaged to this very sweet and friendly woman (aged 24) who happens to have a rather bad trait. She's very quick to pigeonhole people. Meaning she places people in categories without fully getting to know them or acknowledging all their qualities. And then proceeds to treat them with that misconception.
I know this person for about two months and didn't have much contact with her until recently since my wife will be in charge of wedding preparations. I was flabbergasted last night when I overheard some of her conversation with her friends during a family gathering.
A couple of examples regarding her behavior:
- The name of a good friend of my nephew came up as being maid of honor. Her reasoning for saying no was that she dressed provocatively, thus she will steal her husband. Preventing said friend from being part of something wonderful in her friend's life.
- Another occasion was regarding another relative who's in his teens and not that social. My nephew wanted to "hire" him to rearrange his library but the fiancee declined because he would access have to their bedroom and go through her things. Although she never really interacted with this boy who happens to be this kind and respectful person.
There were several racist remarks, comments about how people dressed (thus judging their financial situation) but not sure if these classify as pigeonholing.
Some of her comments got back to the people she was talking about, like the friend of my nephew's boyfriend overheard and told her - which made her leave the party. The teen boy was also a perv from his other cousins as a joke but it still hurt him. Similar situations happened all around.
I discussed it briefly with a couple of family members and we're pretty much sure that she doesn't know that she's doing it or what she's doing is hurting others.
I caught up with my nephew the next day over coffee and discussed the issue with him, not talking about specifics but generally asking if he has noticed his fiancee being quick to judge people, hold unrealistic images of them in her head and act upon those assumptions. Something that he denied but from his body language, I realized that rung a bell.
For that reason, I decided to go to the source of the problem and talk to the fiancee. I realize I can't change/make her change this trait of her personality. But I would like to ask/achieve her being a bit discreet about it and not discuss things like that in a family gathering.
How can I approach her and let her know that what she's doing is hurting her relationship with others and especially me, as her soon-to-be family? How do I handle her if she keeps doing this at family gatherings?