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Show ALL Forums  > Ask A Guy  > What do I do when American men are ...      Home login  
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 15
What do I do when American men are ...Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
The "work chat" is a potential minefield, it would depend on who's doing this and what his work relationship is with you.

To me this is akin to the "do these jeans make my azz look fat", isn't really question so if you'd be safe responding I'd do it with another question...."why do you say/ask that?" Put it back on them.
 Double Cabin
Joined: 11/29/2004
Msg: 17
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What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/23/2008 4:40:59 PM
Unless you're going to ____ 'em and raise their confidence level I'd keep doing what you have been. Sometimes work means putting up with a trivialty however old it gets.
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 18
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/23/2008 4:45:45 PM
Hey, Hiromi, let me make a wild guess here.
You were raised in Japan, right? I will assume so.

American and Japanese culture, as you may have noticed are a bit different.

Japanese culture tends to have a vast and intricate array of social rules that govern how to act and interact with one another in various situations, rules that depend on your age, your sex, your job, etc. etc. etc. Networks of mutual obligations, reciprocal favors, strict social rules governing including people, working for the group, not standing out or making others stand out, etc. etc. etc. Basically, they are so complicated that unless you were raised Japanese, at best you will seem socially clumsy, like a not-too-bright child.

You probably do not realize how complicated the rules are because you grew up with them and so they do not seem complicated, because you have been learning them since you were very young.

American culture has a vast and intricate array of social rules that govern how to act and how to interact with one another in various situations.

But almost no one knows what they are. Including the people who were raised in the U.S.

AND they are constantly changing, evolving, being renegotiated, altered, manipulated and so forth, and vary from group to group, place to place, situation to situation.

The first thing you should try to understand is that there is no "rule" about "how to react". In every situation, you are adapting the rules as you are going along.

You could, for example, start laughing at yourself, and insulting yourself in ways that are obviously not true. If you know you are good looking, call yourself ugly. If you know you are smart, call yourself stupid. Indirectly, you are saying to him that what is going on is that we are all going to make fun of ourselves, for things that are obviously not true. So you are joking, but at the same time telling him that he is not fat or stupid.
Joined: 6/4/2008
Msg: 19
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/23/2008 4:49:31 PM
Op if your co-workers are doing something( anything) that makes you feel uncomfortable, I would communicate this fact to them. Explain how them doing this makes you feel, I bet they will understand.
Joined: 9/7/2007
Msg: 26
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/24/2008 5:47:38 AM

If you are an engineer, it is a good start.
If you are a smart engineer, you can be very successful.
If you are a smart engineer with a personality, you can take over the world!

Mish Man speaks much truth. Also, if you can learn geek culture you stand a much better chance of knowing how to manage them.
Joined: 6/19/2008
Msg: 28
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/24/2008 4:39:42 PM
Make an engineering joke out of it.

If he's fat, is he bending the space-time continuum?

If he's out of breath, should he buy a carnot cycle to work out on? Or does is his fuel cell a few kJ short of the capacity needed to get through the day?

If he's dumb, is there a sale on DDR RAM at the Future Shop? Or maybe the flow of thoughts in his brain has gone from laminar to turbulent?

The other posters are correct that North American culture is so new nobody knows the rules.

The Economist magazine has guides for doing business and business in etiquette for foreigners. They used to be in books, and maybe still are. I found these videos on their website by googling on "economist doing business in". They aren't as detailed as the books.
Joined: 6/19/2008
Msg: 29
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/24/2008 4:58:24 PM
You could check your home country's version of (online bookstore) for a book explaining US culture to people from where you are from. One office is going to be different from another, but it will probably help in the long run with adapting.
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 31
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/24/2008 5:19:01 PM
There are a lot of dynamics with this particular situation.

I worked at an engineering firm (not as an engineer) it's more often than not a male dominated work environment.

The OP is a young, intelligent, very attractive female.

The non-work relating socializing, as I said before it a potential minefield.

She doesn't know how to respond and doesn't want to respond inappropriately. It's very understandable (being another female). I love football, and basically grew up a tomboy with 3 older brothers. So I knew how to socialize and fit in. I can talk guy talk to guys, still if they don't respect my boundaries and gender...I'll just say so.

I'm sure it's not easy for her, and dang I wish I had some amazing pearl of wisdom. I only know what works for me, she's not me. I'd turn it around and put the question back on them. But hey, I heckled a stand up comic!!

Hiromi, I just hope that you'll figure it out, I think you're a great lady!
Joined: 9/7/2007
Msg: 33
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/24/2008 6:24:38 PM

They are nice people but laugh at themselves are a lil bit too harsh and pointless.

A self deprecating sense of humor is generally considered a positive thing in USAian culture.

Nerds have learned to use it to hide the pain of social awkwardness.
Joined: 3/2/2007
Msg: 36
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/26/2008 8:21:32 AM
Engineers are usually pretty good at processing new information.

You have new information for them, that in your culture, only insecure, inferior men make fun of themselves. If you figure out a way to convey this information to your engineering co-workers (in a reasonably nice way), they might change their behavior.

So the next time "Fred" says: "Look at what I did, darn, I'm so stupid",

try something like "Hey Fred, I gotta tell you, where I'm from, only inferior guys make fun of themselves. I know your just kidding around, but it's such a cultural difference I have a real hard time dealing with it".

If I was "Fred", I might still make a snide reply at the time (because you caught me by surprise), but going forward, I'd remember that if I call myself stupid/fat/whatever in front of you, you'll think I'm a loser.
Joined: 6/19/2008
Msg: 39
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/26/2008 4:48:42 PM
Hiromi, you won't win with a strategy of trying to change American culture.

You don't have to make self-deprecating remarks about yourself. It is best to just smile or quietly laugh when they do. Make sure you show enough that they can tell you get the joke.

This is a very good point:

I'd be careful indulging the tendency too much. In American culture, self-deprecation is one of the ways we signal that a barrier has been taken down. It is a sign someone is comfortable with you.

The reason I say to be careful is that American men have barely any concept of the point of signals and boundaries. So, if something looks like an opening for more than friendly work behavior, there's a pretty good chance they'll take.

Obviously I can't judge this guy individually. But, be aware that American men tend to run with an opening once they're given one.
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 41
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What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/26/2008 6:38:28 PM

For me it has been difficult to react when a American man starts to laugh at himself...such as laughing himself be physically unattractive, not smart...etc. I don't want to repeat what they have said since it is harsh.

It's this attitude which American men find so charming in Japanese women.
Joined: 6/28/2008
Msg: 43
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/28/2008 11:16:06 AM
I make fun of myself frequently. Its a joke, don't take it seriously. I usually stop when someone thinks I am being serious. As with any joke, if you must explain it, its not funny anymore.

I would suggest just ignoring it if it bothers you.
 Terrible Flirt
Joined: 5/13/2006
Msg: 46
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What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/28/2008 7:14:44 PM
I suppose you have to assess the individual making the self deprecating remark as to whether it really is a joke that they think is funny or if it's an attempt to disguise self loathing. If it's really meant to be funny I usually go one of two directions. I may respond with a counter claim about how much worse I have it (and therefore I win!). Usually though I will find a way to agree with them. For instance, if someone were to bemoan how fat and stupid they were I might say to them, well, of course that's true but you forgot to add the part about having a small wiener. Hiromi said you had a micro-penis, remember? And then mirthful laughter would ensue.

Now if it's really about insecurity and self loathing, I don't know, maybe you can point out why you think they're being too hard on themselves. Of course if you pretty much agree with the statement you're kind of stuck.

If you're out of all other options just say "your momma" and walk away. It's a classic so even if it's confusing and makes no sense whatsoever, it will garner you a bit of old school respect.
 Gangster Kitten
Joined: 4/3/2008
Msg: 52
What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/29/2008 11:40:49 AM
I can only speak from my experience, so here's my two cents:

Men are often insecure about themselves as much as women. We just display it differently.

One of those ways is to make fun of ourselves, addressing the exact issues that we're insecure about. I often joke about being skinny, or my ears that stick out. Some things that make me insecure.

Take that as you will. And I'm sure plenty of guys joke about their own flaws and aren't insecure like me.
Joined: 3/2/2005
Msg: 53
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What do I do when American men are ...
Posted: 7/29/2008 11:51:00 AM
This is America land of the free and home of the zanax.
Nobody here likes everything about themselves. thats why we use so much medication.
Next time he says something like that ask him if he has taken his meds today.
Or just remind him that his Louie Anderson poster is on the right side of the mirror not the other way around.
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