Courtesy and Multiples
Most people want to be treated with what they percieve as "common courtesy". Multiples are no different. However, like common sense, common courtesy isn't as common as people would often like. Nor is it as easy to define as people would like. The best cure for this is communication; that cannot be stressed enough. --Arashi
However, barring that, here are some tips and pointers:
(Blah, unsure of how it sounds in general, feel free to overhaul...)
Here are a few pointers on courtesy
Originally by Doltaghey House, edited by Elaq Chen, Astraea, Crisses
- Acknowledge that the people in the multiple or plural system are real and individual persons. Until and unless they indicate that they do not wish to be treated as equals and whole in themselves, this is the most courteous thing to do.
- Learn to recognize individuals. Sometimes fronting tells (signs someone is front) are subtle, unreliable, etc. You can always ask in some way, or acknowledge in a questioning way i.e. "This is Buck, right?" and apologize if you get it wrong. Some systems do not want to be asked who is fronting, some do want to be asked or are willing to do something specific to display who is front (jewelry, name tags at a conference, etc.). Ask whether they're comfortable with you asking or acknowledging who is front.
- If they have shared their names with you, call them by their names. When talking about them, whether collectively or individually, use their correct pronouns respectively.
- Respect the wishes of people in the system who do not want to spend time with you. It may be that only a small number of people in the system have a relationship with you. Some of them may have relationships elsewhere; this does not necessarily mean that you are being cheated-on or that they don't want to be with you. It's also possible someone is exhausted, shy, or cannot front on demand.
- Most folk do not want externals specifically and directly asking to see someone in the system. If you miss a system member, then let them know. Consider if you were at a friend's house and they said "I'd rather see our best friend Joe." or started making phone calls to talk to someone else in front of you. "What am I, chopped liver?" comes to mind. Enjoy your time with whom is fronting for the relationship it is or the one it may become. But it's totally fair to let them know you miss your friend, partner, spouse, etc. Demanding to see or speak to someone else is extraordinarily rude, though. Consider: "I'm having a great time coloring in coloring books with you, and when we're done I'd really like to see my partner, if they're available."
- If there is something you don't understand, ask. Group members may not always find things easy to explain, but your willingness to learn will be appreciated.
- Be aware that some multiples may lose time and may not remember things that you think they should remember. Or it could simply be that a different person is in Front now, and there's been a glitch in continuity so that they aren't fully aware of what has been going on prior to their arrival.
- Be aware that different people in the system may have different opinions or feelings about something. This is not about one person "changing his/her mind".
- If there are young people -- littles -- fronting, treat them with the respect that they are the age they say they are. Don't be fooled by the adult appearance, you are not watching an adult behaving like a child, you are watching a child who happens to be in an adult body.