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关于美国的礼貌 | January 2, 2015

在这里你可以感觉到美国人的礼貌,应该是适可而止的礼貌。我临时抱佛脚的学习了柯瑞娜送给我的一本关于“the american way”的书,有关于在美国如何打招呼的介绍,很有意思。当一个人问你“how are you”,你不应该以为他/她真的在关心你的身体状况,就像你在中国,人问你“吃饭了吗?”,你回答吃过还是没有吃过,不代表他/她打算请你吃饭。所以你的任务是机械的完成回答,问对方同样的问题,然后该干嘛干嘛。另外说一下,虽然我在中国生活二十多年,但是对于吃饭的问题我还是一直很纠结,别人可能不管,但我总想找一个能说服自己的回答,可惜一直都不太令人满意。

在超市或者什么人多的地方,明明是我笨手笨脚的碰到别人,还来不及让我做完表示惊讶不好意思的表情然后说sorry,人家已经极为自然的抢先道歉了,一度让我真的以为是她/他做了错事,我该表示谅解,然后让我内疚一阵子,美国人真是厉害。

后来碰到几次类似的情况,我总结出了经验,反正不管咋地,先说sorry准没错,表示道歉诚意的表情以后看情况再表示,抢先把握主动权,把内疚的机会留给别人。

American courtesy is almost tangible, but it only goes so far.  I’ve been cramming lessons from a book Sabrina gave me about “The American Way,” and from it I learned about how Americans greet each other.  It’s very interesting.  When a person asks “how are you,” you shouldn’t think he or she is asking about your actual physical condition.  It’s just like how, in China, when someone asks “have you eaten yet,” this doesn’t mean they’re planning to treat you to a meal.  So your task is just to respond mechanically and ask them the same kind of question and then be on your way.  Although I’ve lived in China over 20 years, I still feel conflicted over this “have you eaten yet” question.  Other people can just ignore it, but I always actually try to recall whether I’ve eaten.  I have yet to find the perfect answer.

In the grocery store or other places with a lot of people, even when it’s obvious that I’m the one who clumsily bumped into someone, before I can even offer an apologetic look and say sorry, the person has already reflexively apologized.  And they apologize in such a way that makes me believe they’re the one who made a mistake, and that I should forgive them.  It makes me feel a little guilty.  Americans are something else.

After encountering this kind of situation several times, I eventually had enough experience to, regardless of the situation, be the first to say sorry.  Then, I analyze the situation and if it was really my fault, I put on a regretful look. By seizing the opportunity to apologize first, I can leave the guilty feelings behind for someone else.

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