On ‘CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION’ By Mitchell Odhiambo

There are tons of differences in how men and women perceive verbal and non-verbal communication. The differences are sometimes so pronounced that according to John...


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There are tons of differences in how men and women perceive verbal and non-verbal communication. The differences are sometimes so pronounced that according to John Gray, ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’. It is absolutely amazing

The environment in which we grow up in, influences a lot of what we believe in. The people we grow up with, what we see, and the values that are passed on to us, become ingrained in us as the only way to live. This happens so much that when we meet others who live out their lives in a different way from us, we cannot believe how “uncultured” they are. The truth however, is they are just culturally different.

In some households, people don’t say Good Morning to one another since they spent the night together. They just continue their conversations from the night before i.e speaking as normal without actually acknowledging that it is a new day. While in some households, a failure to greet one another in the morning is considered rude and/or barbaric. Can you imagine people from such diverse backgrounds, living together? Surely it would take a while before they get into sync. This situation can be stressful.

In other households, you can live large out there but the minute, you walk in through the gate, you leave everything out there and come to be with the family. To the contrary, there are households where friends are encouraged to come into the family compound and sleep overs are common. If such a pair starts dating, it can be frustrating for one another. One would feel their privacy violated if/when people keep streaming into their house, while the other could feel their freedom as being curtailed if sleepovers are not encouraged.

Such small differences can have an enormous impact on how couples perceive each other. I read on Twitter once that: “You cannot trust someone who presses the toothpaste from the middle”. Something which can seem so minute but imagine such a person marrying/getting married and realizing their spouse does that. It can be frustrating surely? They might tell their spouse to change but this change will not immediately happen. As is habitual, they might continue their old habits, thus causing strain on the marriage

It is important to recognize how differently we are wired and to appreciate the effect of cultural differences in the conduct of those we love/work with. Changes in behavior may take a long while. What I would encourage couples/people to do, is to examine how differently you behave, how different your upbringing was and agreeing on the way forward for your new family. It will certainly take work though to get there. You will have to make sacrifices. Next week, we will talk about the value of Sacrifice. So, until we speak again, I am your host Mitchell Odhiambo. Welcome to a man’s world.  To get a female perspective on Cultural Differences, check out Mercy’s post HERE 

 

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