We were at a horse show this weekend. Not the typical pleasure, equitation horse show but one with a ranch horse class, ranch rodeo, branding etc. There were several kids running around having fun with their ropes and playing. My three year old nephew,went and tried to play with them. Nope, they told him to take his crazy shirt and shorts and go somewhere else. I felt horrible. If they start at that age where are they going to be when they are 20 or 30. He was dressed for the weather, he wasn't riding,and he attempts to rope; why didn't they accept him?
How many times have I walked past or brushed off someone because they haven't followed my dress code? Or didn't look the part? In Intercultural Communications, they call this a non-verbal expectancy violation. A mouthful isn't it. In short, we expect certain people to look, smell, and act a certain way. When, they do not meet these expectations we become defensive and do not want to interact with them. So when, my young nephew was not dressed appropriately to interact with the young cowboys they labeled him weird and wouldn't play with him.