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Are Americans too thin skinned?

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:31 pm
I think Americans are pretty thick-skinned compared to most cultures (depending on the subject, of course).
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:39 pm
@Mame,
Quote:
I think it's quite natural to be sensitive to criticism. I don't like my country or people criticized or mocked by outsiders, either. I'm sure that can be said about just about anyone.

I think it depends on the criticism. I am super sensitive to criticism if it's careless. On the other hand, if it's constructive, such as "hey, you took the initative to do this spreadsheet on your own, that's great, but can I make some suggestions on how to improve your formatting?", then I am all for it.

When it comes to America being criticised, it depends. During the Bush years, it was pretty easy to understand the venom.

When I was in high school there were a couple of very wealthy students from Turkey in my class, they always referred to America as "The States" always with a bit of curl in their lips, that I did not appreciate.
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Gala
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:41 pm
@Irishk,
But it's true, the quality of life in Europe is better than in America. They appreciate and incorporate leisure time into their lives way more than we do.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 02:44 pm
@Gala,
The part that I found somewhat amusing is that she was born and raised there, but couldn't afford to live there, at least according to her.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 06:16 pm
@djjd62,
djjd62 wrote:

Mame wrote:

I think it's quite natural to be sensitive to criticism. I don't like my country or people criticized or mocked by outsiders, either. I'm sure that can be said about just about anyone.


one of my pet peeves is nationalism, i like living in canada, and i appreciate what i have, but i'm not very flag wavy or patriotic, the only time i get really bent out of shape about it is the quebec issue, and that's because they're so adamant about who they are and what they should have, i like to think we're human beings first, nationals second


I somewhat agree with you, dj, but I have read much criticism here of the USA/ the American system/ its people, and feel that the reason they're most often attacked is because they're such a big target (of course, arrogance often rears its head which just exacerbates and reinforces it) -- makes me wonder how I'd like it. And I wouldn't. So I usually give the American topics a wide berth.

Outsiders often don't understand the processes we went through to get where we are/were on Issue A, B, or C. So they're judging from the outside looking in. It's a case of judgement, not understanding the whys and wherefores. I therefore consider their opinion practically invalid. Sort of like saying the guy at the end of the street is nuts when you don't know he has a brain tumour.

I'm not a flag-waving, rah rah rah Cdn, either, but I am most decidedly a Canadian. Liken it to homes in a neighbourhood - we love and defend our home/family first, then work outwards.

I don't mind if we are criticized fairly, but I do mind it when we aren't. And as I said earlier, we're often misunderstood. And that goes for everyone.

From what I've read/experienced, some people (here and elsewhere) have decided many Americans are single-toothed, gun-toting hillbillies/trailer park trash who don't know much about their own state never mind a 'foreign' country. That is not only offensive but would get pretty wearing pretty quickly. It is just not that black and white.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 06:25 pm
I heard crits re the US while in Mexico or Italy (I've pretty much only been to airports elsewhere) that set me to thinking, usually a good thing. But, I've heard a lot more by reading. I think a lot of our u.s. reading is tunnel visioned, not that mine is that much broader. I do find it almost silly to generalize. People in the same house can differ seriously on issues (or, is that different elsewhere in the world?).
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:18 pm
I'm probably a little thin-skinned when it comes to criticism from Europeans here. However, I don't contemplate changing.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:41 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

I'm probably a little thin-skinned when it comes to criticism from Europeans here. However, I don't contemplate changing.
i took a course in beavior-mod I'm working on becoming short/dark and italian.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 07:43 pm
@dyslexia,
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

That one blew me away Dys ! Thanks.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 08:07 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

I'm probably a little thin-skinned when it comes to criticism from Europeans here. However, I don't contemplate changing.


But, you have the last laugh. You are living in America. Sorry for the hubris, but it is true.
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Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Jan, 2010 09:22 pm
I think the context in which the original person spoke, she is wrong. I think when I look at my coworkers, we handle criticism very well. Further, most of the people I know at work take great pride in demonstrating improvement.

In other ways we are a bit thin skinned. I don't know if it is our nature as much as even thick skin can be worn down over time. As an American, all of my countrys dirty laundry is out for everyone to see. It does wear on me.

T
K
O
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 02:18 am
@Gala,
Gala wrote:
I had a conversation with a woman from Germany and she is astounded
by how easily people in America get their quills up.

Her husband is American, and she commented the biggest
argument they ever had was how critical he thought she was.

She thinks we're overindulged in just about everything and as a result,
our feelings get hurt too easily, whether it be on the job,
with friends or recieving bad customer service.

So what do you think?
Overindulgence is an oxymoron.
The purpose of life is to have MAXIMUM FUN,
and after that, keep on having more fun n enjoyment.


Its the squeeking wheel that gets the oil.





David
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 07:48 am
@georgeob1,
so, where you from, george?
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 07:53 am
@Diest TKO,
I don't think she's wrong so much as she needs to turn the arrows to herself and understand why she's doing the ol' wrist slapping. It's a culture thing. In Germany, apparently, they're comfortable with getting their hard work trounced by their uppers and quite successful at walking away unbruised.

As I said before there's productive criticism and unproductive criticism. If I am constructively criticized then fine, but if someone is wreckless, well, I don't usually take it sitting down.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 07:56 am
@OmSigDAVID,
David, please explain to me how being a sqeaky wheel has anything to do with maximum enjoyment of life.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 07:58 am
As usual, Foofie is anxious to demonstrate as quickly as possible that he is an idiot.

One factor no one here has mentioned is that Americans get more attention than anyone else. I'm not saying that they should, nor am i saying that with anything like pride. It just goes with the territory. When i hear Canajuns carping about Americans, i am always tempted to point out to them that Canajuns obsess about Americans, and Americans can go from one year to the next without giving a thought to Canadia.

If you want thin-skinned, look at the Chinese. They will launch a media blitz of attacks on any criticism of them. Americans are in the cross-hairs of just about every critic on earth, so it would be surprising if they didn't complain about the criticism. I agree with RG, i think they've become thick skinned.

When was the last time you heard carping every day about what's wrong with Burkina-Faso?
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 08:14 am
@Gala,
The USA: California.

I think Setanta summed up the issue rather well in a post above.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 10:04 am
@Gala,
Gala wrote:
David, please explain to me how being a sqeaky wheel
has anything to do with maximum enjoyment of life.
It is he who COMPLAINS of annoyances whose objections
r addressed, as distinct from those who opt to suffer in silence.

By complaining of his concerns and having them successfully resolved,
he can the better, and the sooner, resume taking his delights.





David
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Jan, 2010 01:24 pm
@Setanta,
It is too early in the U.S. history to claim that Americans are thick, or thin skinned, since many Americans truly act out their belief in how their respective ethnic group does/should act. That is a claim of sociology (we act the way we believe other people expect us to act).

So, if you have ever heard the phrase, "don't get your Irish up" you are aware that different groups do have a reputation to live down, or perhaps live up to.

Only when dealing with foreigners do many within an ethnic group accept that they are Americans; otherwise, many of us are living a role that American society has foisted on us.

You need not comment on this post, since I am just relaying what I learned in sociology circa 1972 or thereabouts.

Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2010 06:11 pm
I suspect that Germans tend to think all other nationalities are thin skinned.

There are a lot more "thin skinned" people in the world than Americans.

What might someone from another country casually and innocently say that would insult or outrage an American?

There are a lot more cultural land mines to maneuver in places like Japan or Saudi Arabia than in America.

I do business in a number of countries around the world and it is far more often the case that we Americans need to be far more "sensitive" about others customs than the reverse.

It doesn't bother me as long as there isn't an anti-American component at play. It's actually enjoyable. I love the Japanese business card ritual.

However, I'm not an American woman trying to do business in the Middle East.

My experience is that there are a lot fewer "rules" about communication and behavior in America than just about anywhere else.

0 Replies
 
 

 
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