Author Topic: Is This Weird? - Pleasantries in Phone Calls at Work  (Read 2261 times)


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In African culture it is considered rude not to properly greet first and ask the other person how they are.

Collakat, don't you mean "South African culture"? "Africa" is a pretty big place, with many different cultures.

And every culture has its own norms, which often they don't even fully articulate to themselves until people from somewhere else come along and violate them. For example, in France nobody expects or wants waitstaff or retail staff to ask complete strangers how they are, or wish them a nice day, still less ask them what plans they have for the weekend, heaven forbid! But if you walk into a smallish shop (i.e. not a supermarket) and don't greet everyone there, both staff and other customers, with 'Bonjour, m'sieurs-dames' ('Good day, ladies and gentlemen'), you are ill-mannered.

I do pick it up from our neighboring countries and friends from other (more north) African countries also.  So that is why I said African as opposed to South African. However, we are seen as a friendly nation  ;D

I think this is common in other cultures, too.  We were an "anchor family" for an immigrant family from what was then the Soviet Union many years ago.  When the wife would call with a question, she would first ask several questions about the family, work, etc.  I would usually wish she would stop beating around the bush and just ask whatever it was she called about!  But I learned from that that where they came from (Moldova), it would be considered rude and abrupt to get down to business without some social chat first.  I also realized that if someone just started right in with, "I need to ask you about XYZ" without at least a "Hi, how are you?" then *I* would consider *that* abrupt.  We each were used to different customs.

So it's all a question of degree and social convention.  That's a big reason, beyond personal feelings, that our experiences and preferences differ.  Where I live, it's very common for strangers to chitchat a bit, and pleasantries are the rule, not the exception.  Where Toots lives (and I once did), not so much.  What is standard in one place is either too chatty or too abrupt in the other.

But in any case, it's never really a question about health or really wondering about your Valentine's Day.  It's just pleasantries.
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