Life Abroad, San Francisco, Thoughts & Opinions, Travel, Writing
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Post #51: A Cultural Disconnect

Post #51: A Cultural Disconnect.

I feel like I give a lot of myself to people and I don’t feel like I am getting what I need back from them. Partly, I believe the disconnect is cultural. It is hard for me as an Australian to say directly to someone, “Hey mate, I want this [from you]”. We Australians do this dance where we try to be as explicit as possible without actually saying the words. And then we get disappointed when we don’t get what we need or want. It makes no sense, but it’s just what we do.

As an Australians in business over here in the US, it can make for some pretty arresting experiences. Aussies have many more similarities with the English in the way in which we conduct our business, and that’s to be expected. But people here in the US can be so… forthright. And even after a few years, I still find it confronting. Americans, generally, come across as being more arrogant than the biggest knobs you know down the pub. But you know what? They’re not all talk, like the knobs down the pub. Channeling the American arrogance really works to your advantage in some situations.

Take the conversation I had the other day with the American about asking your Twitter followers for retweets. I cringe whenever I see the lame “can I get a RT?” because I think it’s:

  1. rude
  2. pushy
  3. impolite

And you can quote me on that.

But then the American pinpointed the fundamental truth of American culture:

How will people know what you want if you don’t ask for it?”

Oh touche, American.

How do we get what we want when we make a song and dance about it, but don’t actually ask for it? At home, we are cut down by our fellow men and women for having the balls to speak up. So none of us speak up, lest we get too big for our boots. But then we whinge to high heaven when we’re dissatisfied.

Perhaps this is part of what is holding me back in being able to verbalise what I want from my life with the person that is nearest and dearest to me.


Welcome to the fifty-first post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
At least three days a week until the end of the year, I will post about a topic of choice. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.

If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com

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