Cross Cultural Friendship

Topics: Interpersonal relationship, Psychology, Culture Pages: 6 (1722 words) Published: November 6, 2012
Cross – Cultural Friendship

Cristina E Hidalgo Queipo de Llano
Psychology of Friendship
MET PS 501 D1
Boston University


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 defined 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...

References: [ii] AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, 2002. Guidelines on multicultural education training, research, practice and organizational change for psychologist [online]. Available from: 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.
[ix] Excerpted from Discussions on Youth Vol. 1 (SGI-USA, 1998)
[x] The Concept of Shinyuu in Japan: A Replication of and Comparison to Cole and Bradac 's Study on U.S
[xiii] Doi, T. (1986). The anatomy of conformity: The individual versus society. Tokyo: Kodansha.
[xvi] Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture ’ s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage
[xvii] Aune, R
[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.
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