Parents, partners and friends can be worrisome creatures, especially when it comes to chastising you about motorcycling. While it may be annoying, their concern comes from a good place so it is a good idea to try and ease their mind rather than rolling your eyes. Here is how to talk to friends and family about motorcycling to calm their fears.
1. Don’t hide it: The worst thing you can do is try to hide your riding shenanigans. When you are secretive, deceptive or simply walled-off, your loved ones will not only feel disconnected from you, but their imaginations will also run wild. They’ll imagine you thundering down the highway at 100 mph while splitting lanes and cutting people off on steep mountain roads as you go bombing down to the canyons. They will always imagine the worst. Don’t give them the chance to make-up stories about how you ride; take the initiative and lead with the truth.
2. Talk to them about your choices: Making safe, sound and smart decisions is what RideApart is all about, but sharing those choices with the people you love adds an extra layer of accountability to the process. It forces you to reevaluate the decisions you’ve already made, think twice about the ones you will make daily and in the future.
Tell them about your rider training, tell them about your personal riding philosophy, explain to them how safety gear works and why it keeps you protected. Tell them when and where it is appropriate to ride, what is appropriate to wear, how you exercise caution, mitigate risk and consciously avoid danger. Sharing with others and opening up your analytical process to critique can also help counter your own thoughts that may have been developed over time by personal overconfidence, or just plain ignorance. You never will reach a place where you know everything about motorcycling and there is always, always room for growth and improvement.
3. Listen and acknowledge: Listen to their concerns, frustrations and critiques. Yes, I said listen. Let them tell you those horrible stories they’ve heard about their friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s little brother. Basically, let them care, show their concern and vent however uninformed or misplaced it may be. Look for the kernel of truth in their words and repeat it back to them to let them know you are hearing them.
4. Teach: If you can teach people, especially your parents and your friends, about motorcycles with authority and poise, they’ll be more likely to respect your choices and more likely to defer to your judgment. However, when you walk people through the various components on your bike, or the very unique skills that riding requires, or the specific qualities of motorcycle safety gear; speak with knowledge and humility. Nothing turns people off more than being talked-down-to or dealing with a know-it-all. Better yet, if you don’t know the answer to something, say you don’t know and will do some research. Then come back to them with what you learned and have an open and meaningful discussion.
You’ll be surprised how quickly the four steps above can break down barriers and build a bridge of acceptance.
What tips do you have for getting friends and family on board with motorcycling?
Additional Arguments: Why Motorcycles Make Sense For College Students
Do The Opposite of What I Advise: An Open Letter To Every Person I Meet Who Finds Out I Ride a Motorcycle