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Friendships and Relationships: a Cross-cultural Perspective

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Presentation on theme: "Friendships and Relationships: a Cross-cultural Perspective"— Presentation transcript:

1 Friendships and Relationships: a Cross-cultural Perspective
Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words. (George Eliot, English novelist)

2 Major Topics: Defining terms Good neighbors Friendship
Obligations and connections Men and women relationships Family relationship Dorm-mate relationship

3 Defining Terms Friend: one attached to another by affection or esteem
Friendship: a relationship in which people know, like and trust each other Friendliness: behavior, characterized by smiling, chattiness, and warmth, that demonstrate interest in another person BUT, the understanding and expectations of a friend vary from culture to culture, from person to person

4 Intimacy: very personal or private relationship marked by warmth and familiarity
Intimate relationships: romantic, close family, deep friend relationships Individualists: "I" identity, personal privacy and relationship privacy             Collectivists: "we" identity, family and ingroup network connection       

5 Diverse Personal Relationships
Close childhood friend, best friend, new friend, family friend, classmate, teammate, colleague or co-worker, roommate, girlfriend or boyfriend, acquaintance Casual, friendly relationships Deeper, closer friendships Friendly relationships Committed relationships

6 What is a good neighbor?

7 For the cleaning of the shared areas:
Germans define duties and responsibilities precisely in a formal written contract or lease agreement, and relationships with neighbors may tend to be formal and distant.(low-context) Americans talk together and find a solution acceptable to everyone, or else pay for a service. Chinese imply from the relationship, or behave in a certain way by acting that way yourself, hoping others will follow you.(high-context)

8 Chinese Friendship 1. There are few limits on what you can ask or expect of a friend. 2. Chinese friends give each other much more concrete help and assistance than Western friends do: personal connections, money, direct and specific advice 3. A true friendship is a relationship that endures through changes in the lives of the friends. 4. Relationships with friends are much more informal than similar Western relationships.

9 American Friendships (1)
For Westerners, friendship is mostly a matter of providing emotional support and spending time together. Americans expect friends to be independent. Americans develop friendships easily and quickly, and they are satisfied with transient relationships and friendships.

10 American Friendships (2)
Friendship depends on frequent interaction with the other person.True friendships require time and commitment, which many Americans lack. Friendships are tied to specific circumstances or activities: work friends, leisure activity friends and neighborhood friends. Friendships in the West is based on equality. Friends should exchange similar activities and give similar things to each other.

11 Social Obligations Relationships in China ordinarily involve a system of social debts and credits. In Western countries, relationships do not include social obligations. They avoid obligations and personal commitments.

12 Case study: 1) who are you trying to fool? 2) You can afford it
3) What is true friendship?

13 Discussion: What do you think are important qualities of true friendship? loyalty, forgiveness, kindness, commitment, common interests, kindness, generosity, respect, equality, understanding, trust, honesty, fun

14 Importance of Connections
China: relation-based, personal relationships, background, connections The U.S.: rule-based, professional obligations, qualifications, performances

15 Men and Women Relationship
Refer to the handout for the understanding of the basic differences between Men and Women. Is marriage a choice or a necessity?

16 Family Relationship Critical incident: the Arrival of the In-laws

17 Dormitory Life Formal or informal Intimate or distant Obligations
Describe the relationships between dorm-mates: Formal or informal Intimate or distant Obligations Friendly or indifferent

18 Cross-cultural Friendships: Barriers and Strategies
different expectations language inadequacy unfamiliar environment Strategies: Understand cultural differences Be empathetic Develop communication skills

19 Intercultural-Intimate Relationship Attraction
Facilitating Factors: Perceived Physical Attractiveness Perceived Similarity Self-Disclosure Ethnic Identity and Self-Concept

20 Summary of Social Relationships
Different expectations of: A good neighbor A friend Social obligations and Connections Men and women Family relationship Roommate relationship

21 Questions for discussion:
What Causes Us to Hold Biases Against Outgroups? Through our Lenses: Communication Filters Perception Ethnocentrism Stereotypes and Media

22 Final Project: 1st reminder!!

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