There are 4 stages in the development of interpersonal relationships: 1) orientation, 2) exploration, 3) affective exchange, and 4) stable exchange. Based on my experiences, it seems the Guyanese like to fast forward through stages 1-3 and immediately arrive at stage 4, overstepping many American cultural boundaries and oftentimes invading one’s privacy.
On Monday morning, shortly after I had just woken up, I heard a knock at the front door from an unannounced visitor. I slowly opened the door to see my roommate’s student take off his shoes and walk right in.
Stage 1 Orientation: Student begins to orientate himself around the house.
Me: Um, come in [student].
Student: Miss Nadia home?
Me: No she’s not.
The student sits down and makes himself at home while he rummages through our things.
Stage 2 Exploration: Student explores our personal belongings lying around the living room.
Me: Would you like some breakfast?
Student: No thanks Miss.
Me: Ok, well I’m going to get ready for school. Let me know if you need anything.
I begin running back and forth getting ready. The morning grogginess still hasn’t worn off, but I attempt to make conversation with the student. After a few exchanges, I run into my room, give the door a gentle push shut and begin putting on sunscreen as the student remains sitting on the couch.
Me: So [student], are you waiting for me to walk to school with you?
Student: Me don’t know Miss.
Stage 3 Affective Exchange: My thoughtful exchange with the student to determine his length of stay was not effective.
I continue getting ready when the student asked, “Miss, what is that cream you’re putting on your legs?” Startled, I quickly look up to see two little eyes peeping through the crack of my door that didn’t shut completely.
Stage 4 Stable Exchange: In my calm and stable teacher voice, I tell the student to get his ass back on the couch.