You may notice that there are a lot of differences of table manners between Chinese and Americans. Take the “alcohol culture” as an example, when Snow and Lily toasted for the second and the third time, Priyanka felt uncomfortable. When we went out to look for the truth, we were surprised and shocked that Americans are not accustomed to persuading others or being persuaded to drink. If they are pushed to drink, they probably will decline directly. But In China, people would like to toast for many things, not just good news and events we appreciate, but also some tiny little things. Besides, they tend to persuade their guests to drink together.
AH, that’s a culture bump.
The commonality is that both Chinese and Americans want to treat their friends well. From the perceptions of Chinese, this “alcohol culture” is rooted in thousands of years custom, they are very hospitable, hoping their guests can be well treated. Generally, they propose a toast to drink together just to create an enthusiastic atmosphere. But from the perceptions of Americans, whether to drink or not is ones’ own decisions. Making their friends feel at ease and comfortable is to show their kindness. So they wonder why Chinese people toast for so many things, and why they would persuade their guest to drink, it’s a kind of activity that they won’t do.
Chinese “alcohol culture” may cause pressure to Americans, making them feel uncomfortable. At the same time, it can cause misunderstanding to Chinese, they may interpret this decline as a cold rejection to be friends or unwillingness to keep a good relationship. All these misunderstanding can finally lead to mental isolation between each other.
As shown above, people from different cultures can interpret the same activity in different ways which may cause serious communication problems.
When we encounter a culture bump, how to face it? how to solve the communication problems? Not only knowing but also trying to communicate with them,eventually we may set up a bridge which can lead us to a better understanding of others’ behaviors. We may find out that although we act differently, we still have a lot of commonalities, based on those our connections will be rebuilt.