Ever sit back and wonder why we do things the way we do? A dear friend of mine received her mission call recently and is heading out to a foreign country. Rosslyn's father happened to have gone on his mission to that country as well, so he gave Rosslyn some books for our friend to borrow. One of them was a book on things on what us Americans find weird about the people of that country, and what they find weird about us, ranging from eating habits, body language, driving, and expression.
It's got me curious. Americans are very forthright and direct as a group, which is either seen as confident and in control, or intimidating and rude. Sometimes all four! We don't like to beat around the bush; we prefer people to get to the point. Other people prefer to tell stories to develop a rapport, and those stories might never have a point other than to take up time and get to know you or them through it. We're expressive people who talk loudly and often make large gestures. Our faces are very animated. Other people, especially Asian countries, are more subdued and reserved, taught to hold their emotions in, but at the same time, will ask lots of personal questions (age, weight, family, goals, etc.) upon first meetings, whereas we consider those private and personal.
It's interesting to see the huge differences. I mean, I'd never go to a foreign country without learning a few phrases here and there to help me out. Why would I expect a tourist to my country to know some English if I'm not willing to learn some French, or Spanish, or whatever?