“You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy”. So the saying goes.
I am proud to be an American – and I have integrated myself into the American life style as much as possible. And yet, there are still areas in my life where the German heritage can’t be extinguished – or so it seems. I value the American culture being one that emphasizes sensitivity and just plain, niceness. I also value honesty and, I think in the pursuit of being nice we sometimes fall into lies when, in my opinion truth would serve the purpose better. For instance: When some one tries to break off an ill fated romance he or she will say something like “It isn’t you. you are the nicest guy/girl, it’s me. I’m just not ready, etc.” Well, maybe you would do that person a service by pointing out what annoys you. He/she may learn not to do whatever it is in the next relationship.
Recently my young friend confided to me an incident at her job that was disturbing her – she wanted my opinion because she knows that I would tell her the truth even though it might hurt her. As she told me that the designated person to choose the staff they wanted to work with in a group setting did not include her or, more to the point they actually requested to not have her included. “why would they not want me – every one likes me” she told me and it is true, she is a very likable person (As I said, Americans put a lot of value in being likable) – then, her supervisor told her “Oh, don’t worry. It isn’t you. They probably just want to get even with me about something”. Now, wouldn’t it be better to just be honest and put the cards on the table ?
Now, here is the other side of the situation. I come from a culture where people are not afraid to tell it like it is and let the cards fall where they may. Granted quite often that creates hard feelings, especially in America but eventually a person becomes strong enough to handle the truth – and, as Dr. Phil keeps saying “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”. I think sometimes it takes a painful truth to motivate a person to make necessary changes – or simply grow.
And so, I will continue to sometimes offend people with my unintentional bluntness because it’s in my DNA and my friend, along with most other Americans will continue to be nice and have their feelings hurt when, on occasion, somebody does not seem to appreciate their sweet personality.
Viva La Difference.