We’re back with a new podcast, this time answering an interesting query from LRFotS Robert W. He asked me for my thoughts about inter-cultural communications, based on a particular book, in light of my 2021 reading list:
RE Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman:
My wife and I read this as part of a group study within the first two years of our marriage. It was a useful read but seems like it was a 24-page brochure puffed up to a 120-page book. The core concept of people experiencing incoming love in different ways and express outgoing love in different ways has a broad application beyond romance. In any type of customer-facing context, it’s good to pick up on how people respond. Just listening to the problems (quality time) or taking charge immediately (acts of service) or just a replacement latte (gifts) or a statement of appreciation for bringing it up (words of affirmation) all come into play.
Chapman (author) has made a real cash cow out of this whole thing though, there’s a half dozen different variations on this book that are all, years after release, still in the top sellers of relationships book. It makes me think people are looking for quick and easy fixes for handling people, and this promises quick and easy without having to do any work on one’s own self, at most just changes in how to respond to other people.
I would find your perspective on it interesting, in particular on how applicable (or not) it is in cross-cultural (eg USA/India) dynamics.
The book itself is called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and it is in fact pretty good, if somewhat puffed-up and overlong, given the subject matter.
I endeavour to answer his question by first providing an overview of the 5 languages themselves:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Quality time
- Physical touch
(I almost surely referred to them out of order, but never mind that.)
Based on that, I then provide some cultural context for the cultures with which I am most familiar, and explain how differences in the ways in which we receive, and express, affection and respect, then create gaps in communications between different cultures.
The astute listener will note that I spend a lot of time talking about Russian culture. This is not accidental, since I know a lot more about it than the average Westerner (who knows basically nothing). If you know any Russians, run through what I say with them, and see if they agree – I’ll be interested to know your thoughts.
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments, and don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe.
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