No matter which country we are coming from and regardless what our roots are, we all have certain cultural values and beliefs that we didn’t learn but just took for granted. Very often some things that are so normal and usual for us can be perceived as something completely weird and inappropriate by people from other nationalities.
The aim of this article is to show differences between ways people communicate in different countries. As you might already know there are two main types of communication – direct and indirect, or to call it in a smarter way – high context and low context communication. I decided to make some research in order to see how people with different cultural backgrounds would behave in particular situations.
So, 10 people from different nationalities were asked to describe the way they would behave in the following situation: “Well, imagine a long-awaited first date with this awesome guy! Everything seems to be perfect about him: his super fit body, his Hollywood smile, and his personality, except only one thing … the way he smells. It is just terrible! It is like he didn’t take a shower for ages!!!” Disgusting, I know…sorry! Imagine, there is no way you can finish this date and you just have to tell the guy something! So, my main question is: How would you tell him that without making him totally embarrassed or hurting his feelings?
- Polish. I would probably try to find some way around it like –oh it’s a hot day, people tend to sweat… you’re great but I think this heat and excitement caused you to give off a slightly unpleasant smell. I’d probably try to make it my perception more than his fault, you know, I have an extremely sensitive nose etc.
- Brazilian. I wouldn´t say anything, just make an excuse and leave, most Brazilians would not be direct, but behind his back would talk bad about him. But if I would really have to say something, than I would probably make a joke and ask if there was no water this morning at his home.
- Thai. The latest version of Calvin Klein cologne came out last week. I love guys with that scent! You definitely need to try it!
- Ukrainian. I would start from far away, something like: “Yeah, I understand what kind of life is in a student house…everyone needs to shower in the morning and you have this long queue…sometimes you even have to skip morning shower because you are running late. That’s what happened to you today, isn’t it?”
- Norwegian. I would casually open my phone and read out loud from some article about something like “How to fix a bad odor” and would ask him what he thinks about this topic. However, most likely I would not say anything! Besides, people shower in Norway!!!
Did I get you excited with this topic? Curious about how other 5 nationalities replied? You will find answers in the second part of my article coming out next week! And, in the meantime, take your time thinking of how you would behave in this situation!