Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I might as well be British

In this regard, at least:

Applying Carroll’s theories to Britons, you understand why foreigners think we are repressed. Americans won’t touch strangers, the French won’t talk to them, but Brits will neither touch nor talk to them. Passport to the Pub, a semi-official guide for foreign tourists to the UK, warns: “Don’t ever introduce yourself. The ‘Hi, I’m Chuck from Alabama’ approach does not go down well in British pubs.”

Nor are Britons permitted to make eye contact: the former French prime minister Edith Cresson, disconcerted that British men didn’t look at her, estimated that one in four was homosexual. No wonder Britons drink ever-increasing amounts of alcohol. Alcohol was first distilled so that British people could reproduce.

But I suppose being a little French wouldn't hurt; I just need to get over my apprehension with small talk. (By the way, where do you think Pinoys fall under? I think we're touchy and talkative (or nosy) with an overt eagerness to please aka 'hospitable' hence, there is no device left for some flirtation?)

Small talk with strangers and new acquaintances drains me; it makes my head hurt. Outside, I calmly sip my wine. Inside, I'm flapping about thinking of questions to ask. That or wishing I know someone in the room. It doesn't help that I read somewhere that it may now be considered impolite if you ask questions like, "What do you do?" or "Where do you work?"

Um, so "Who are you wearing?"

On a somehow related note, here's an article listing why introverted employees make the best leaders. I'm not sure about the second pointmeaningless chitchats are fun and welcome too in many circumstances but I can definitely relate to the rest:

  • They think first, talk later (In other words, they think before they speak.)
  • They focus on depth. They are drawn to meaningful conversations, not superficial chitchat, and they know how to ask great questions and really listen to the answers.
  • They exude calm. In times of crisis, they project a reassuring, calm confidence
  • They prefer writing to talking. This comfort with the written word often helps them better articulate their positions and document their actions.
  • They embrace solitude. The need to get away from people and recharge actually fuels their thinking, creativity and decision-making and, when the pressure is on, helps them be responsive, not reactive.

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Full article: Don’t touch me, I’m British by Simon Kuper, Financial Times


5 * :

eon said...


i'm doing GRO work right now for visiting US clients and it is draining no matter how much fun we're having.

i also noticed that i'm able to crack jokes in english that are culturally relevant to them so they really do end up guffawing.

Iggy said...


I can relate! my last business trip to the US, my boss was like "I have a treat for you! we're going to a networking event at a bar with legal marketing folks! you'll love it!" oh my god. parang tinotorture ako. buntis pa ako noon so bawal uminom. after 40 minutes of grinning and making small talk about soccer and jersey shore, yung pagod ko matindi pa sa 2 hours na workout.

Jason said...


Eon -- Samahan mo na ng touching, haha :-P

Iggy -- LOL @ treat = networking event + legal marketing folks

Ano ba yang formula ng boss mo!

Deepa said...


I used to consider myself an extrovert but over the years I've found myself becoming more introverted. Maybe that means I'm also growing in leadership quality? :)

Living abroad has "forced" me to put myself out there and make new friends (something I still don't think I do as as often as I should), which requires me to draw upon my small talk skills. I've grown not to mind small talk but I get frustrated that it often remains at that level, rather than developing into deeper friendships (with whom I could have those meaningful conversations, hehe).

Anonymous said...


Thank you!!!!

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