Top 10 Cultural Differences that Can Cause Embarrassment, Misunderstanding and Even TroublesIn a globalized world we need to know more about cultural differences because we communicate with people of completely different cultural origins - at school, at work, on vacation, on the street, and so on. To avoid troubles, keep in mind the significant cultural differences on this list.
While making this list I laughed hard at some possible embarrassing situations caused by cultural differences.
This is a great list. I just learned something from it today.
Great list M_T! I definitely learned a few things.
In Japan, it's specifically "pay me".
I had no space in the item title for this part: In Ghana, Africa, if a young child looks an adult in the eye, it is considered an act of defiance.
In a world of multinational companies, this cultural difference can create tense situations: an American employee who addresses a Japanese executive too casually can get into trouble, whereas Japanese employees may seem too subservient or aloof to their American co-workers.
A female Latino: *winks at a Chinese man because she wants to date him*
A Chinese man: I demand an apology that's incredibly rude, miss...
A confused Nigerian man: You think he is a kid?
An American female: Jeez she was just joking...
I had no space in the item title for this: In some countries, winking after saying something, may mean "I was joking".
It's useful to know that the subjective perception of personal space and privacy varies greatly - you just don't have to stand too close to people from some countries and vice versa: Latin Americans may think you don't like them if you stand too far from them. In Brazil, business acquaintances stand close to build trust, so backing away may be construed as a rebuff.
As the business with China expands...learn to accept business cards with both hands if you badly want a contract or the job.
An American man: I'm a patriotic American and I will always stand on side of America. *while standing with the hands on hips*
An Argentinan man: Huh?! You want to challenge me?! *cracks knuckles* Let's see how strong you are!
It's a big "NO" to show power or pride with hands on the hips in Argentina, or to Argentinians elsewhere in the world. Because for them, this would be a challenge, like "I'm angry and I'm ready to fight with you".
Weird things, dude
Another point to note Maori (a Polynesian subcultures) carved statues very frequently have their tongues out. However, the tongue out is not always a greeting in Maori culture, but can be an aggressive gesture thus it is often invoked in a haka (war dance).
REALLY? I had no idea! Thanks for telling me! Now I won't have to get offended if a Polynesian sticks their tongue out at me.
Very unusual method of greeting, and it does raise questions of how this originated.
Not all parts in Asia are like this... I keep touching children's heads and nobody stopped me.
Egyptian: Want to eat?
Greek: *silence as a refusal*
Egyptian: Me too, let's go to a new restaurant.
Greek: Hey dude, do you want to visit Athens?
Egypt: *silence as a acceptance*
Greek: You don't want to. It's a thousand-year world story teller that is very important for us Greeks! But since you're a foreigner, if you say so.
Well saying that tons of Greeks lived in Egypt or still do live Egypt it must have been difficult.
I grew up with the worldwide, common variant, despite being born and living in Bulgaria.
This is an example for communication misunderstandings from my coursebook.