Dealing With Your In-Laws - What do I do if I've offended my-laws' culture?
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Host: What do I do if I offended my in-laws culture? John Spiegel: So in multi-cultural exchanges, mistakes are going to be made if people are really trying to connect with each other, really trying to get close. It’s just in the nature of it. So I think that’s the first thing is to expect mistakes in a sense to welcome them because it’s an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of things. When people make mistakes and this isn’t just in interactions with in-laws, but it’s just across the board. And if people will acknowledge error, openly and fully, wear appropriate, apologize if there’s been harm to the other person. And I’ll say in a minute about apologies, but if people will acknowledge the mistakes and not defend them. Almost everybody on the planet is willing to move on, and you can see this in a political realm that when candidates or political leaders make mistakes. And they keep defending the mistake and they won’t acknowledge. “ Hey, I just really screwed up here.” Then the problem never goes away. If they acknowledge the problem then people move on. Now apologies, there are many situations where the only way to move forward is a good apology. And good apologies have three components and if done well and done sincerely they can make a huge difference in the situation. So the first component of a good apology is that it has to be complete. It can’t be a partial apology. You have to completely acknowledge that you did not handle the specific situation well. The second part of a good apology is that it has to be visible to the person who is receiving the apology. That the person who’s making the apology is genuinely troubled by his or her own behavior, there has to be that sense of, “Gush, I did this, I’m really sorry. I’m really embarrassed. I’m amazed that I did this and I’m sorry about it.” So that affect that sincerity, really has to be there. Not just in the mind of the person that’s mean the apology, but it has to be expressed through the tone of voice and the facial expression and so on. And then the third part of a good apology is that you have to stick around, and see what the other person has to say and you have to listen to that thoughtfully even if it is hard to hear. So, in summary when you’re dealing with in-laws or with any human being who’s from a different cultural group. There are going to be mistakes if you’re making a real effort to get close accept that is part of the process. And be ready in an appropriate situation to make an affect of apology along the lines that I just mentioned and things will turn around.