My boyfriend was not a selfish, treacherous bastard… he was just Japanese

Most people think that resolving cross-cultural conflict is about spotting and dealing with differences. I think this is wrong because cultural differences are easier to handle. Differences invite us to be careful with our judgments and to enquire on our counterpart’s intentions and motivations; in contrast, cultural similarities temp us to make hasty judgments, and assume that we already know the intentions and motivations of our counterpart.

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Most of us think that resolving cross-cultural conflict is about spotting and dealing with differences. Thus, we pay attention to the behaviours and customs we find odd and strange. I think this is wrong because cultural differences invite us to be careful with our judgments and to enquire on our counterpart’s intentions and motivations. In contrast, cultural similarities tempt us to assume that we already know the intentions and motivations of our counterpart. As in the following anecdote, this could be the mother of all cross-cultural mistakes.

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