Author Topic: Etiquette Etiquette  (Read 2353 times)

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Koshka

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Etiquette Etiquette
« on: January 18, 2010, 06:25:28 AM »
I read the introduction to this section and all the comments and it would appear there's broad agreement with the idea that different countries have different etiquette, etiquette being defined broadly as a system of rules and conventions that regulate social and professional behaviour.
For example, just because Emily Post published a book in 1922 in America saying something should not be done, this 'rule' will not necessarily apply to a country halfway around the world almost 90 years later.

Given that, if something is a local custom in, say, Japan which isn't done in America it's not appropriate to say that it's 'weird', 'wrong', 'not etiquette approved' or 'rude'. Different isn't the same as bad and your (generic) etiquette rules may not apply to all countries and cultures.

Venus193

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Re: Etiquette Etiquette
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2010, 07:21:17 AM »
True.  This is about knowing the etiquette of another country and remembering that it is not polite to comment on it unless one is in a position to launch a discussion about it.

One should always check the etiquette of another country before traveling there, whether the trip is for business, pleasure, or obligation (as in family stuff).  It also doesn't hurt to remember that etiquette rules can differ when meeting other ethnicities on one's own turf.

What we need to determine is whether ignorance of the law gives one a pass.  It may be perfectly normal to an American to ask someone "What do you do?" at a cocktail party, but the other person may come from a culture where that is considered too personal a question upon first introduction.

magdalena

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Re: Etiquette Etiquette
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2010, 07:33:50 AM »
What we need to determine is whether ignorance of the law gives one a pass.  It may be perfectly normal to an American to ask someone "What do you do?" at a cocktail party, but the other person may come from a culture where that is considered too personal a question upon first introduction.

I think it does, especially in situations that are not absolutely obvious.
I think everyone should check the appropriate attire when visiting another country (so they don't wear tiny shorts and a tube top in a Muslim country or to a Catholic church and so on), but it takes time and a lot of effort (not just a guide book) to figure out the finer points of etiquette and I think a different use of cutlery (switching vs. no switching), perhaps even using the wrong form of address, a couple of party throwing things I won't get into on Ehell ( ;)) and so on should be excused - the offending party very likely didn't know they did anything out of the norm, if they are very new to the culture. If close to the offending party, it might be the kind thing to bring the difference to their attention (well, with the cutlery, I don't really think it matters, so I'd never mention it).

ETA: this is speaking as a person who has lived in two countries not her home country and has been repeatedly told that this, that or the other is done differently where I am that wher I grew up. I really appreciated it and I also appreciated the fact that people gave me the benefit of the doubt when I operated under my old rules...



Koshka

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Re: Etiquette Etiquette
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2010, 10:19:09 PM »
I actually meant this more as a reflection on the occasional attitudes I've come across on this forum. I'm not going to give specific examples but a made up one might be that a poster might mention that they threw a birthday party for themself. I understand that this is not acceptable in US culture. However, it's perfectly acceptable to Australians. They would consider it rude to require someone else to throw a party for them. Neither view is inherently 'right' or 'wrong' - just different. So please consider the culture of the poster and don't assume that just because you have a different cultural norm that anyone else has to comply with that.

Wavicle

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Re: Etiquette Etiquette
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2010, 10:22:47 PM »
There was quite a long thread on that example with EHellDame posting a few responses.  http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=68151.300;topicseen

cass2591

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Re: Etiquette Etiquette
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2010, 10:25:18 PM »
There was quite a long thread on that example with EHellDame posting a few responses.  http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=68151.300;topicseen

Exactly, which is why we're not going down that road again.

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