3

This often happens to me when I interact with Asian "face-saving" cultures, some South Americans that are really formal, and even some Americans who are really polite.

The general case is, imagine I want to make a genuine ask or offer and have it genuinely considered. The problem is, whatever I'm offering is unusual or not well-defined culturally or culturally just "not how it's done" to the person I'm offering/asking.

People often by default reject offers or kinda non-answer questions that are outside their cultural norms.

Specific example: Like Andre Agassi and Larry Bird, my back has always hurt. Since my teens, I've often preferred sleeping on the firm floor to a soft bed. I never sleep with a pillow. I also have an excellent relationship with my partner, and we are totally fine with sleeping apart, because we spend almost all our days together. "Who sleeps where?" is all too often a culturally-settled matter, rather than practically considered question of how to maximize everyone's collective preferences. Some cultures say old people get the best beds / rooms, lots of Latin cultures say couples get the best beds / rooms, etc. I might genuinely prefer to sleep on the floor on a yoga mat with a blanket vs a soft bed, as long as we're somewhere with climate control, reasonably clean floors, and no bugs. If another person/people would prefer the soft bed, group preferences are even further maximized by such an arrangement. Yet many people would be aghast at such an offer, because they culturally assume soft beds are better than nice hard supportive floors, couples have to sleep together every single night of their lives, elders must take the best beds, etc.

Is there any way to couch these sorts of offers or questions so that a person might seriously evaluate the offer, and genuinely consider my proposal or query, and understand that I will genuinely be happier with the culturally-unsanctioned alternative I'm proposing?

Other times, I want to offer money/time/effort, spend money/time/effort, or conserve money/time/effort in ways that certain cultures just don't comprehend.

What are general strategies for proposing culturally off-color ideas to people in persuasive, non-offensive ways?

closed as too broad by apaul, JAD, NVZ, Anne Daunted, Magisch Nov 11 '17 at 17:20

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    This is a little broad, it might be better to stick with one specific situation. Your culture, plus one specific cultural context, in one specific situation. – apaul Nov 11 '17 at 6:13
  • If you ask about your specific example, this question is not too broad. And I don't see why your example is cultural based. I think it's more about personal preference. I don't see any culture which prefer sleeping on floor to bed. – Vylix Nov 11 '17 at 9:29
  • And please provide the culture of who you are dealing with. – Vylix Nov 11 '17 at 9:31
  • @Vylix That's exactly the point. That no culture prefers sleeping on floors. I prefer sleeping on floors. For anyone who defaults to their cultural default instead of practically and genuinely evaluating my offer, they will not actually consider my genuine offer to sleep on the floor. Choose the culture you feel most comfortable answering for. The strategies behind the specific tactics will be applicable to any culture. – Tom Mercer Nov 11 '17 at 17:17