How to prevent miscommunication between cultures?
Did you know that cultures can be roughly divided into ‘peach cultures’ and ‘coconut cultures’? People in peach cultures are ‘soft’ on the outside: they smile at strangers and chat easily with people they’ve just met. But their true self is hidden away beneath this friendly exterior and is only revealed to a small group of people and just like the stone in the centre of a peach, that layer is difficult to crack. The American and Australian cultures are typical examples of peach cultures. In contrast, people in coconut cultures are ‘hard’ on the outside. They rarely smile at strangers, do not tend to engage in conversation and may look not at all welcoming. However, if you manage to break through their hard outer shell and get to know them better, they tend to become close and loyal friends. Russia and Germany are two typical examples of coconut cultures. The friendly behaviour of peach cultures can easily be misinterpreted by people from coconut cultures as being shallow and fake. Meanwhile, people from peach cultures often perceive coconut cultures – in which the public and private spheres of life are kept distinctly separate – as being cold and distant. So now you know the difference between these two types of cultures, where does your own culture fit in? Are you a peach or a coconut?