Most cultures in the world have some similarities. However, there are often some very big differences that go with these similarities. When these certain cultural backgrounds meet, these cultural differences can lead to some shocking and very embarrassing moments for both people involved. It is something that nobody wants to experience, but different cultural norms can make these uncomfortable situations happen. I will give you examples from my own daily life.
If you remember going back to my first post, I am of mainly Italian dissent, and my grandfather is from Italy. As you probably know, in Italian culture, and southern Europe in general, kissing people hello and goodbye is common place. You will see family members hug and kiss each other goodbye, or you will see best friends give the double air kiss or a kiss on the cheek. I do this all the time to my parents and family members. However, one night I decided I would try it among all my friends who are mainly of Irish dissent, and come from a strong American background. What happened was fairly embarrassing. A girl came up to me that I have known for a long time, to say hello at a party. I gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek hello. The reaction I got was something out of a comedy movie. She gave me a stare as if to say “Joe, what the hell was that!?” All my friends began to think that I liked her past the point of friends which was not the case. It led to rumors being spread, and me having to explain myself. A fairly uncomfortable situation if you ask me.
Another example is touching/personal space. Now, American’s and Britons like their personal space, and don’t want their bubble burst. I on the other hand come from a cultural background where touching, and standing close to one another is ok. I still deal with this personal space problem today. I often get accused by many of my friends in the United States and northern Europe what I stand “to close” to them. One time I got really embarrassed was when a girl called me “creepy” to my face because I was just touching her slightly, and stood “to close” for her liking. I was not trying to give off that vibe at all, but she misinterpreted what was happening, and then I had to explain myself again. Cultural differences struck again in a bad way!
So as you can see, I often deal with cultural differences. They are not fun, especially when someone from a different background misinterprets the entire situation. The best thing to do is try and understand the other person’s cultural norms, and try not to break them. However, every person is different and it is fairly difficult to read a person when you are just meeting them. As life goes on, we all will have the chance to learn about other people, and how other cultures behave compared to our own.
This was Joe Mastoloni, and until next time…cheers guys! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!