Inter-cultural relationships are involve people from different backgrounds and cultures. The backgrounds can be different in consideration with race, religious belief, and ethnic differences and so on. Same culture relationships are more common than inter-cultural relationships because there are less differences among the people in the relationships. Communication is an integral part of any relationship, inter-cultural or same culture, and it has the power to make or break a relationship. Communication features involves oral communication or in other words the language or languages spoken by the people in the relationship. People in successful relationships have been known to have clear, excellent channels of oral communication (Hinde 1987). Another factor that is part of communication is gestures and body language. A lot of information is usually lost through misinterpretation of non-verbal cues and sometimes complete and total ignorance of a partners non-verbal cues.
A relationship between people who have embraced a similar culture is often different from an intercultural relationship. Belonging to the same culture implies that two parties will more or less have the same ideals, ideologies and beliefs. In some sort of way, peaceful coexistence without interference in another persons livelihood is almost guaranteed. Take for instance, people with strong religious affiliations will easily be able to have a romantic relationship. Such people could be conservative in nature avoiding alcohol and practising virtues such as celibacy due to a strong conviction in their culture. Such practices will work out for them since they think within the same line of thought. On the other hand, two people with lesser religious affiliations could also work out very well. Two people with an eye for fun activities could bond during parties. It is of importance to note that same culture relationships are bound to last for a long while because there are few or no sacrifices to be made by either parties. We can describe such a relationship as a perfect fit in some way. As for this reason, most romantic relationships built on the basis of religion are bound to last long, even to marriage. The only downside however, is the risk of boredom over the course of time. It reaches a point that such a relationship is defined by monotonous behaviour. As time passes, the relationship fades and communication reduces because the topics of conversation are already covered and there are rarely new ventures. The two parties are also free to do most actions according to their own will without criticism from the other. A relationship in which both parties are free to express themselves freely in terms of actions is deemed great and is bound to last for long since body language is a stronger form of communication.
For an intercultural relationship, there exist varied differences between the two parties. For instance, a relationship based on difference in religious backgrounds will require sacrifice from one or both parties. Many guys find it difficult dating someone with strong religious beliefs and convictions. More often than not, the person with lesser inclination to religion has to make sacrifices in order to coexist with his/her partner. For a young couple, this is hard but it is proven that as we grow older we tend to be more tolerant. Whereas for one person, abstinence and celibacy is a perfect definition of exercising self-control, the other person feels as though he is undermined. He/she finds his feelings suppressed and is afraid to make an attempt to change this scenario in fear of losing the relationship. For cases when someone freely expresses their desire to freedom and clearly elaborates the difference, there could be two results: The first one involves the other party accepting to cut down slightly on his/her culture to accommodate the other. In this way, one will be forced to abandon certain aspects in order to grow a stronger bond in the relationship. This is all accrued to communication means. The second possibility is that of termination of the relationship. This occurs when both parties are unwilling to accept the culture of the other, thus being the root cause of many problems and in the end, the relationship will be impossible to work out. The communication is sort of not at the best state because both parties do not really have a common ground and are in fear of each other. This is not only limited to verbal communication but also body language. One is forced to behave in a certain manner so as not to spite the other party. From this communication patterns, it is evident that such a relationship is mainly built on lies and will last a shorter while than that of same culture.
Personally, I have been in various relationships with different people. Some in the dating scene and others just in a social citing with other members of the society. Whether it is of the same culture or intercultural, conflicts are bound to arise and it is only the manner in which we deal with such conflicts that prove whether the relationship is worth preserving. Take the case of attending High School with a huge population. Many students were different in their own unique way in terms of race, religion and ethnicity, thus guaranteeing a difference in cultures. In the same school, there were students with the same culture. A school environment clearly depicts a perfect society in terms of culture.
Considering my childhood whereby I was brought up within a Christian family with great veneration of the church and Biblical teachings, I was able to build relationships with all sorts of people. At some point as a child I was denied not to play and associate with children from other families but encouraged to make friends whenever I attended church. This sort of upbringing ensured my perception that other cultures other than mine were not good. It was not until I joined high school that I noticed that we were all different but at the same time deserved an equal platform to express our cultures. I came to accept my Math classmate who cursed a lot whenever something went wrong despite religion having taught me that cursing was inappropriate. Let us call him Tom for the purpose of future references. Despite being a curser by nature, Tom turned out to be really good in math and we have been close ever since. This led to a fall out with my childhood friend, Harry who did not like Tom. Harry and I practised more or less the same culture and lived within the same neighbourhood. He was intolerant of Toms nature and it reached a point he declared he would no longer stand his presence. He even tried to persuade me to stop interactions with Tom but I could not. Slowly by slowly as my relationship with Tom grew, that with Harry kept on diminishing. Whenever Tom would come to my room and Harry was there, Harry would just storm out of the room. By this time it was clear that Harry did not like Tom but Tom had no issue with anyone. Being the mutual acquaintance with the two, I was the most affected and was forced to resolve the matter. It took small talk with Harry to convince him that Tom was not such a bad person. The following day the three of us were bonding over video games and when it came to class, we were often seated together. Talk about a win-win kind of situation.
The society in general is bound to have many differences in culture and if not for this, the world would have been very boring. With or without cultural differences, communication is a key aspect especially in avoiding and resolving conflicts. The first step is to accept that we are all different and in turn embrace the differences. If the relationship is worth keeping, conflict resolution should be in an amicable way. In other instances when forced to deviate greatly from our principles then we are forced to let go. Communication behaviours will vary depending on the culture of the parties and communication is found to be more prominent for a same-culture relationship. It is therefore needless to say that with good communication peaceful coexistence regardless of culture is guaranteed.
References:Griffith, D. A., Hu, M. Y., & Ryans Jr, J. K. (2000). Process standardization across intra-and inter-cultural relationships. Journal of International Business Studies, 303-324.
Hinde, R. A. (1987). Individuals, relationships and culture: Links between ethology and the social sciences. CUP Archive.
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