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You Misunderstood Me

Viewed 3850 times 2017-11-7 09:41 |System category:News

I read an article by a Chinese English teacher/blogger/philosopher a few days ago who was talking about the difference of how many Chinese think (I don't believe that 'all' Chinese do this even though I have personally experienced it many times) compared to how most Westerners think. 

One point made me chuckle with agreement. It said, "Most Chinese are quick to say, 'You misunderstood me.' Most Westerners say, 'Sorry. I misunderstood you.'" Very true. He went on to say, "Most Westerners can easily and securely accept responsibility for being wrong. Chinese won't do this for fear of losing face. Most Westerners will feel closer to the person who they misunderstood because they value honesty, integrity and truth. A stronger bond of trust is built between the two people involved. We Chinese naively believe we will look bad if we ever make a mistake, so, we feel better to blame someone else." 

I wrote a comment and said, "After being in China for almost six years, isn't it true that these Chinese people are, in a way, saying that they misunderstood even when they don't take direct responsibility and blame you?" He wrote back and said, "Yes. In fact they are. But because they value their own face more than truth, they expect others to let them get by with transferring the responsibility. Others will let them do that even though both know the truth. They still think that they've successfully saved face." He further said, "You are kind and generous to think deep enough to understand this about Chinese people. You even defend them." I said, "Well, I don't defend dishonesty, but, I think it is better to try to understand others and their culture rather than think they are just bad or evil." 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


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