People from the Western cultures of the United States, France, and Germany have many common values, yet they are different in their communication styles, interpersonal interaction, and emotionality.
Scholars who study cultures and compare them have spent a long time looking at Western and Eastern societies as two very different types of cultures. This kind of cultural difference was easy to understand and explain in terms of philosophical, social, and psychological aspects of culture. These differences really make sense.
The concepts of Western and Eastern cultures are largely exemplified by European and North American countries as “western”, and Japan, China, and India as examples of Eastern cultures. The Western cultures are mostly defined as individualistic, while the Eastern cultures are characterized as collectivistic. All other countries presumably belong to one of these global cultural groups.
In recent years, researchers have looked more closely at the cultural differences between societies around the world, going beyond the traditional East-West divide. Researchers have been able to make a more diverse cultural classification of world societies because they looked at many different cultural factors and dimensions (Karandashev, 2021a).
Studies have shown that Eastern and Western societies are more diverse than they were originally deemed. Researchers have found that dividing the world into East and West is too simple and doesn’t show how different the countries are.
Cross-cultural research has revealed a diversity in how people in different “Western” and “Eastern” cultures experience and express their emotions (Karandashev, 2021a).
The Western Cultural Diversity of Interpersonal Communication and Emotional Styles
Many cultural and cross-cultural studies have found that the “Western” cultures of interpersonal communication and emotionality are quite different in such countries as Canada, the United States of America, France, Germany, Ireland, and the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
The North American Culture of Communication in the United States
Several Western European cultures are very different from North American culture in the United States. Even though they are all presumably Western cultures, their communication styles differ in several ways.
People in North America, as a low-contact culture, tend to keep a spatial distance, maintain slightly indirect body orientations, and avoid frequent touching during interpersonal conversation. In this regard, they are significantly different from people in high-contact cultures,
Americans are known around the world for being loud, talkative, direct, and assertive. When interacting, they prefer to maintain a social distance. Nevertheless, they are chatty, polite, and expressive both verbally and nonverbally.
North Americans are self-expressive. Social standards encourage emotional openness. Unrestrained emotional self-expression is believed to improve understanding and exhibit empathy in interaction. People feel self-expression is good and improves relationships. This explains why Americans are so outspoken and expressive.
Many Americans appreciate happy things and struggle with unpleasant emotions. They’re friendly. They strive to be positive and discourage their communicators to experience and express negative emotions. Their favorite sayings are “Take it easy” and “It’ll be okay.”
Americans prefer “small talk” to meaningful dialogue or serious conversation. They enjoy jokes and humor talking with each other. They strive to ease tensions in interactions and challenging situations. Americans tend to be overly expressive in both positive and negative emotions. They like to brag and appreciate the feeling of pride in many things.
The French Culture of Communication
French people express their emotions openly and intensely. They may express their displeasure and anger, as well as their affection and love, in public at times. They enjoy vigorously defending their points of view in conversations.
The French are an emotional culture that tends to act on impulse. The French do things in a very emotional way. They can be very happy and interesting. Still, the French get angry sometimes. The French communication style can be described as straightforward, indirect, and eloquent. Every meeting starts with a general conversation. The French people don’t worry about phony friendliness and insincere sociability. They enjoy small talks and dialogues.
The German Culture of Communication
Germans frequently behave and communicate more conventionally. They are direct, serious, and grounded. They favor adopting traditional attire, manners, and fashion.
The Germans are serious in their verbal expressions. Germans do not like small talk and idle conversations. They are generally introverted and reserved. They don’t like talking to strangers or people at social gatherings. Germans are usually polite and don’t raise their voices when they talk.
Germans are typically straightforward and direct in their verbal expression. They usually include detailed information and explanations in their messages. They prefer to present their messages with well-organized and logical information supported by facts, examples, and figures. They like to summarize all of the major points at the end of their communication messages.