All cultures are more similar than they are different.

All cultures are more similar than they are different.

 

Well, ok, this is based on very limited experiences- although very diverse experiences. I have spent time in Sweden around Russians, been to Poland and currently live in Asia.

Every place I have been, I see the same things. People want very similar things.

Let’s look at hospitality. In the USA, people ask you what you want to drink. And you respond according to what they have and what you want. It works. Where I live, no one asks you what you want to drink- they just give you something.

In both cases, the host wants the guest to feel comfortable. So, the host does what is culturally appropriate. Here, it is giving the drinks/ food. In the USA, it is asking “what do you want?”

Now, the way in which the cultures operate is quite different. But both cultures have the same goals- the same desired end result. So, if you ever leave the USA, remember, different cultures want the same things: their guests to be happy and comfortable. However, they do different things to achieve this result.

So if you ever have any questions, just ask what is culturally appropriate. I am certain they won’t mind you asking and will provide a juicy bit of conversation for at least a few minutes!

Before you go:

Just to show you the differences, I was eating dinner with my wife and two of her friends (she is native here). I asked them what they want to drink, they said “I’m ok”. So I got up and bought 5 different things to drink and then they each took one. You don’t ask what they want to drink, you just buy them something and they enjoy what you get them.

Also, when it comes to paying for something, you don’t tell them “I will pay”. Instead, you need to fight them. It is common to see people pushing money out of the way to pay for something. It is also funny. With my nephew (my wife is the youngest and we got married later in life than her siblings), he was driving us around and needed gas in the car. So, rather than let him pay, I pushed (yes, I literally pushed him back) and thrust money into the hands of the attendant.

I have, in fact, behaved like this on several occasions (although, that was the only time I have needed to push someone).

In the USA, you would never do that. You offer to pay for something and the other person most often accepts graciously. You would never tell someone that you are not thirsty when you are actually thirsty.

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