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Old 02-28-2010, 09:28 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,173,261 times
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After reading this...

Quote:
I've lived amongst Brits for over a decade, and in areas where they vacation by the thousands, I know many Brits and am frequently surrounded by them in stores, restaurants, etc. I would make the generalization that middle class and upper class British people are more reserved in their social interactions than their U.S. counterparts. But much of this reserve comes to the fore in superficial contacts with strangers or people not well known, and has nothing to do with being unfriendly.

The fact that these Brits do not feel moved to gush over people they meet casually or spill their guts to everyone does not make them "uptight."

Perhaps one might consider whether we Americans should be characterized as "phoney." Contrary to what I said in the previous paragraph about what some Brits don't do, we do gush over people in the most extreme ways, almost like the next step was going to be to get naked together, and we tell even the most personal details of our lives to total strangers that anyone with a grain of maturity would save for a psychiatrist or a clergyman...and we behave in five minutes as if strangers were our oldest and bestest, bestest, bestest friends in the whole world and forget about them ten minutes later. Maybe it's not really "phoney," maybe it's "adolescent."
...I'm wondering if any individual society (or subset of that society) is less "reserved" or more "open" than (on average) Americans, especially from the South. Obviously, the above post was a great exaggeration of what I've seen here living in Minnesota for 23 years, but I've noticed that people can be more "cold" (definition: less sociable outside their social group?) than here. I've also, however, noticed the reverse in Morocco, with somebody I had just met inviting me into his home (and what a nice house it was) and strangers I just met in the last minute pulling chairs out into the street and introducing their family members, serving me cookies, etc. I've also noticed a similar level of openness or warmth (sociability / friendliness to those outside one's social group) in Costa Rica. As an independent traveler (one who travels alone most of the time, hence increasing my number of native-stranger contacts), I would rank the places I've been like this, in order from warmest to coldest:

Morocco (esp. Meknes, 1 week)
Costa Rica (multiple locations, 2 weeks)
Tampa, Florida (2 months)
Duluth, Minnesota (vast majority of my life)
San Sebastian, Spain (tied with Duluth)
NYC (7 days)
Granada, Spain (3 days)
Barcelona, Spain (5-6 days)
Washington, DC / NoVA Metro Area (5 days, but I was 14)
Madrid, Spain (3-4 days)

** Not including locations that I've spent less than 2 nights in

Of course, this only reflects my limited personal experience, but it may touch on something more.

Last edited by tvdxer; 02-28-2010 at 09:38 PM..
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:47 AM
 
Location: Dubai
241 posts, read 458,866 times
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I think that's depend on the cultures @_@
try my country United Arab Emirates
you gonea like it ^_^
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:25 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 11,242,900 times
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@ tvdxer : I'm going to stay for a few weeks next spring in the PNW (Seattle-Portland), can you tell me if people are warm or not there? I'm eager to know!
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Paris, France
321 posts, read 918,524 times
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Being served cookies by a stranger is not quite the same as meeting an American who asks you in the first five minutes how much you earn and the amount of your electric bill, which has happened to me before.

Many other cultures can show themselves to be quite friendly without being invasive in their questions and attitude.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Western Michigan
92 posts, read 242,187 times
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So, I don't really understand your question... Are you trying to say that it's better to be reserved when you first meet someone? I'm from the US and I certainly don't "spill my guts" to others upon meeting them for the first time. I'm also NOT all gushy over them, either. I'm very friendly, but that is simply the way I was raised! I love to be openly accepting of others from the beginning. I'm not going to stand there and keep conversation to a minimum, especially if it heads in a more talkative direction.

It's not fair to stereotype all Americans as being this way. Sure, our British counterparts may be more reserved, but honestly, does it even matter if you're reserved or not when you first meet someone? If it's okay to be reserved in your culture, then do it. But if it's okay to be friendly and open, be that way as well! It does not matter. Everyone is different. Every country is different. Just go with the flow :-)
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,173,261 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerouac2 View Post
Being served cookies by a stranger is not quite the same as meeting an American who asks you in the first five minutes how much you earn and the amount of your electric bill, which has happened to me before.

Many other cultures can show themselves to be quite friendly without being invasive in their questions and attitude.
That's interesting, because in my part of the country it's still considered rude to ask a stranger how much they earn. Normally it would take a lot longer than five minutes to get to the point where that question would be acceptable.
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Old 03-04-2010, 02:45 AM
 
1,810 posts, read 3,392,727 times
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I'm from a non-Mediterranean part of Spain, Galicia, and we are reserved but warm. True, we usually don't start conversations with strangers or quickly speak our minds, which makes us reserved, but if someone needs our help, we're happy to oblige. Besides, our traditions are very social and we like to meet with lots of family and friends and eat, drink and dance together many times a year.
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:56 AM
 
Location: Espoo, Finland
26 posts, read 75,749 times
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I can say that a lot of people who move to Finland complain about just the opposite, that people are too reserved.

I have found it to be fine, maybe it suits me better than some people to have my personal space, etc. I've heard that people want a larger area of personal space here. For example, on the bus, if there is place to sit that is NOT next to someone else, you sit there. If you sit next to some stranger when you don't have to, it's kinda weird.

Once, after a long day at school studying Finnish, I was on the bus home and some lady sat by me and there were plenty of other spaces. I was internally grumbling and cranky about it. I guess I like my space too.

I don't know how I'll feel about the aloofness when I start working here and really get into society. Right now I am married to a Finn,so I have his family but the acquaintances I have met myself are mostly other immigrants.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,173,261 times
Reputation: 6863
Quote:
Originally Posted by noela View Post
I'm from a non-Mediterranean part of Spain, Galicia, and we are reserved but warm. True, we usually don't start conversations with strangers or quickly speak our minds, which makes us reserved, but if someone needs our help, we're happy to oblige. Besides, our traditions are very social and we like to meet with lots of family and friends and eat, drink and dance together many times a year.
Yes, those traditions very "social" within the in-group (Spaniards, speaking in general, seem to have a clique of friends, outside of whom and their family they are rather reserved), but not so "social" to those whom the individual has little or no acquaintance with. Again, one of my few foreign travel experiences was Spain, and they seemed to socialize with only those whom they knew well.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:55 PM
 
3,111 posts, read 7,742,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papuja View Post
I can say that a lot of people who move to Finland complain about just the opposite, that people are too reserved.

I have found it to be fine, maybe it suits me better than some people to have my personal space, etc. I've heard that people want a larger area of personal space here. For example, on the bus, if there is place to sit that is NOT next to someone else, you sit there. If you sit next to some stranger when you don't have to, it's kinda weird.

Once, after a long day at school studying Finnish, I was on the bus home and some lady sat by me and there were plenty of other spaces. I was internally grumbling and cranky about it. I guess I like my space too.

I don't know how I'll feel about the aloofness when I start working here and really get into society. Right now I am married to a Finn,so I have his family but the acquaintances I have met myself are mostly other immigrants.

Reminds me of going to the bathroom, and there are 20 open stalls, but someone chooses the one next to you.

I think most people would want to spread out on the bus if possible.
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