Mexico V.S. US and Canada: Cultural Differences… April 26
Mexico V.S. US and Canada:
Cultural Differences Are Harder to Get Over Than We Think.
You’re in Mexico now. Cultural differences mean that friendship is full of uncomfortable little surprises. The cultural rules are DIFFERENT, in particular, those that define honesty.
Cultural differences give life a sort of before and after feel when you first come to Mexico. As in: before things worked, now I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.
For example, friendships are defined by the giving and receiving of favors. We take turns buying each other lunch. You give me a ride home from work and I help you drop off your car at the mechanic next month. You loan me money, I pay it back when I say I will. I can’t go to your party, so I call you up the night before. I don’t want you to be looking for me, wasting money on food I won’t be able to eat. I know that you’ll understand my absence. Friendship is smooth, effortless, as long as we are honest with each other, right? Wrong. You’re in Mexico now. The cultural rules for friendships are DIFFERENT.
Now I have to offer you food if I’m going to eat. If I suggest that we eat out, I have to buy your food. You give me a ride, home, but I don’t have a car. How will I pay you back? You loan me money, but I don’t ever have to pay you back and it would be very rude of you to ask for it. I can’t go to your party, but I don’t dare tell you that. I tell you I’ll be there even if I know I’ll be in Timbuktu. Besides, you have to have tons of food ready because I might just show up with my family of 6: all of them hungry.
At this point, you might be saying, “Ok, so the cultural differences exist. How can I have friendships be part of my life in Mexico?” After all you wouldn’t live or retire in Mexico, if you didn’t want to have Mexican friends. Keep your foot out of your mouth by reading more about how people make friends first in Mexico and some of the cultural differences in how we have friendships.
When you first get here you will be vigorously targeted for favor relationships (as described in the page about friendships). How should you respond? Read about how talking to your neighbors helps you to build a strong future when you live or retire in Mexico .
You may have guessed that the same cultural differences will affect your relationships with coworkers. Keep your foot out of your mouth by reading more about the cultural differences in work relationships .
I mentioned honesty above. How we define honesty causes a lot of friction and frustration between ourselves and our new friends and coworkers. Surprisingly, this cultural difference in how we express honesty affects the right way to make requests . It also means that there are certain things we can’t say. Even the way we loan people our things is different in Mexico. Learn how to avoid asking why does everyone keep my stuff?
As you grow and adapt to the cultural differences you will find yourself changing. Some of these things make funny jokes. Find out what might happen to you after a year or two of living in Mexico by reading You might be becoming Mexican if…