Cross – Cultural Friendship Cristina E Hidalgo Queipo de Llano Psychology of Friendship MET PS 501 D1 Boston University Introduction Psychology is a science that studies people using three categories, cognition (thinking, thoughts, and beliefs), emotion (feelings and affect) and behavior (acts and action). However psychology is concerned with studying what influences and causes people to think, feel and act the specific and particular ways they do; “the understanding of behavior”[i].
Cross-Cultural Psychology, which is a part of psychology, studies how culture influence and causes people think, feel and act the specific ways they do; Cross-cultural psychology studies the effects of differences in culture between different countries or nations of the world[ii]. But I am not going to talk about Psychology, but about Friendship. It cannot be called a science by it self, but it can be developed as such; Friendships require their instruments, and they are virtually all of the skills that comprise perspective taking, social competence, and multicultural sensitivity.
Friendship can be de? ned as an ongoing reciprocal liking and behavioral involvement between two individuals My paper research topic is “Cross-Cultural Friendships”, there for most of it will be related to this brunch of psychology. Multicultural vs Bicultural It is impossible to compare all cultures at once as it will end up being, instead of a comparison, a list of characteristics of friendship across cultures. On the other hand, I did not want it to become a bicultural friendship study, but a paper research focused on many cultures on the same basis but not at the same time.
Friends Definitions Across cultures Before starting, we have to see what and what not is considered a friend in all cultures. The cross-cultural studies of friendship done by Penning and Chappell in 1987[iii] clearly indicated that people in different places had different labels for each relationships; this explains why the data shows any Chinese’s will only consider a 6. 6% of its own network his or her friend, and in the other hand Americans will state that a 67. 8% are their friends[iv].
But this does not only happen with China; Eastern Europeans define relationships differently and they have specific words for each level or degree of friendship[v],[vi]. They are “przyjaciel,” “kolega,” and “znajomy. ”. None of them has a literally translation into English, so an explanation will have to cover our need: • Przyjaciel: it will be “best friend” but with a higher importance in someone’s life than Americans find that their best friend has. Great deal of honesty and self-disclosure. Kolega: this word has a perfect translation which is “colleague”, and it is also used in Spain • Znajomy: it will be “acquaintance” but with and agreement about the parties relationship status. Friends Factors Across Cultures As there are different names for each level of friendship, I decided to look for the factors that are considered basic to be a friend. In the following chart I have chosen the common factors between Western cultures and Japanese culture, and added Buddha’s factors, which will be useful for future explanations: WESTERN[vii] |JAPAN[viii] |BUDDHA[ix] | |Understanding |Understanding |Speak Kindly | |Enjoyment |Enjoyment |Generous | |Similarity |Similarity |Equal | |Respect |Sensitiveness |Provide Care | |Authenticity |Interdependence |TRUTHFUL | |Acceptance |Group Conformity | | |Helping Behavior |Helping Behavior | | |Intimacy |Intimacy | | |Self-Disclosure |Self-Defense | | If you take a look to this chart, there are several important things that should be mentioned. First of all, we can see that there are some universally shared qualities in friendship that are not affected by cultural issues: people want to understand, help, and have fun with their friends. [x] It is true that also intimacy and similarity should be included in these universal qualities, but there is reason for them not to be.
Intimacy is not equally understood in country like Japan, where the Japanese include other emotions representing intimacy, such as “appreciation,” “understanding,”[xi], whereas Americans talk of intimacy only related to “physical contact”[xii]. That is just an example of how just one word, even with the right translation, can mean different thing across-cultures. As this topic is very wide and there are many “bits and buts” I will focus in the most important thing of friendship, which goes across cultures no matter what: TRUTH. Truth in Friendship Across Cultures Everyone has lied once in their life to a friend, for one reason or another and, even though is one of the key factors of Friendship, is also very important to know how, when and for what lies appear. Cross-Culturally, there are even more differences.
Americans believe that their lying should be consistent across situations (it does not matter for whom you are lying, or the reason behind it), whereas Japanese individuals believe that they need to adjust their behavior based on each type of situation[xiii]. Psychologists have determined that the reason is the two different cultures; collective culture (collectivist societies would stress social identity, emotional dependence, group solidarity and sharing, and need for stable and predetermined relationships)[xiv], where modesty plays a big role and more likely to be tolerant of lying[xv], and individualistic culture (emphasize personal identity, autonomy, emotional independence, right to privacy, and need for specific relations)[xvi]. Therefore, participants in a collective culture are more likely to lie for other benefits than participants in an individualistic culture. AMERICANS |OTHER COUNTRY | |deceive others when the issue was personal |SAMOA[xvii]: only if it involved family | |deceive for personal gain |ISRAEL[xviii]: wont deceive for personal gain | |won’t likely testify favorably for a friend (e. g. car accident) |MEXICO[xix]: will testify favorably for a friend (e. g. car accident) | |93% would not lie to protect a friend |KOREA[xx]: 37% would not lie to protect a friend | Friends Behavior and Reactions Across Cultures There exist differences between the behaviors of friends, even in the same culture.
But, if we are in a situation of cross-cultural friendship, we have to be aware of the predominant behavior in their relation. For example, Russians reported that they talk with their friends less frequently, that they share less intimate information with them, and that they have a greater focus on “activities” than do U. S. citizens. [xxi] Also, before becoming friends it is important to know their possible reaction to disappointments, which also differ from cultures. The current studies show how East Asians and Westerners react differently to honest and dishonest friends and strangers; East Asians reward more than they punish friends, but reward and punish strangers equivalently.
Americans, however, reward more than they punish regardless of whether the actor is their friend or a stranger. Therefore, if we think in terms of opportunity costs, it will be better to be friends with East Asians, and there will be not a big difference between becoming friends, or been an acquaintance for an Americans. Conclusion Cross- Cultural Friendship is not very easy. There are many elements unknown for both parties in the relationship, but it is not impossible. The best thing to do would be: recognize the effects on our behavior, recognize the similarities between cultures and the most important one be sensitive to differences and always ask questions. REFERENCES ———————– [i] AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
Available [online] from: http://www. apa. org/about [ii] AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, 2002. Guidelines on multicultural education training, research, practice and organizational change for psychologist [online]. Available from: http://www. apa. org Accessed 12May 2007]. [iii] Penning, M. J. , & Chappell, N. L. (1987). Ethnicity and informal supports among older adults. Journal of Aging Studies, 1, 145–160. [iv] Ruan, D. (1993). Interpersonal networks and workplace controls in urban China. Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, 29, 89–105. [v] Abrahams, R. (1999). Friends and networks as survival strategies in North-East Europe. In S. Bell & S. Coleman (Eds. , The anthropology of friendship (pp. 155–168). Oxford, England: Berg. [vi] Searle-White, J. (1996). Personal boundaries among Russians and Americans: A Vygotskian approach. Cross-Cultural Research, 30, 184–208. [vii] The Concept of Shinyuu in Japan: A Replication of and Comparison to Cole and Bradac’s Study on U. S. Friendship, Eriko Maeda and L. David Ritchie, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 2003. P582 [viii] The Concept of Shinyuu in Japan: A Replication of and Comparison to Cole and Bradac’s Study on U. S. Friendship, Eriko Maeda and L. David Ritchie, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 2003. P582 [ix] Excerpted from Discussions on Youth Vol. (SGI-USA, 1998) [x] The Concept of Shinyuu in Japan: A Replication of and Comparison to Cole and Bradac’s Study on U. S. Friendship, Eriko Maeda and L. David Ritchie, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 2003. P582 [xi] The Conceptualization and Expression of Intimacy in Japan and the United States, Kyoko Seki, David Matsumoto and T. Todd Imahori, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2002, P310 [xii] The Conceptualization and Expression of Intimacy in Japan and the United States, Kyoko Seki, David Matsumoto and T. Todd Imahori, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2002, P317 [xiii] Doi, T. (1986). The anatomy of conformity: The individual versus society. Tokyo: Kodansha. xiv] Culture and Gender Differences in the Perception of Friendship by Adolescents Maykel Verkuyten Utrecht University , Utrecht, The Netherlands Kees Masson Erasmus University , Rotterdam ,The Netherlands, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY, 1996, 3 1 (5), 207±217 [xv] Cultural differences in how individuals explain their lying and truth-telling tendencies, Hye Jeong Choia,”,iduals explain their lying and truth-telling tendencies, Hye Jeong Choia,? , Hee Sun Parkb,1, Ju Yeon Ohc, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, P752 [xvi] Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture ’ s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage [xvii] Aune, R. K. , & Waters, L. L. (1994). Cultural differences in deception: Motivations to deceive in Samoan and North Americans.
International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 19, 159–172. [xviii] Sim, R. L. (2002). Support for the use of deception within the work environment: A comparison of Israeli and United States employee attitudes. Journal of Business Ethnics, 35, 27–34. [xix] Zurcher, L. A. (1968). Particularism and organizational position: A cross-cultural analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 52, 139–144. [xx] Trompenaars, F. , & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding cultural diversity in global business (2nd ed. ). New York: McGraw-Hill. [xxi] Friendship and Gender in Russia and the United States, Virgil L. Sheets, and Robyn Lugar