Professional vs. Personal

In those relationships, when is it important to maintain a strict separation between matters of business and becoming acquainted with each other personally? Where should you draw that line?

Unsolicitied Advice

This is complex. When should you offer your opinion on sensitive issues even if you have not been asked? And when are you willing to accept advice even if you have not requested it?

July 4th in Manhattan

Bob lives with his German-born wife, Katarina, and their two children in Manhattan. When the holidays approach Katarina often invites over a few German ex-patriate friends – Ingrid, as well as Heinz and Petra. Bob invites his sister, Ann, as well as an old college friend, Larry and his wife, Mary. 

All highly educated and informed people, conversation naturally gravitates towards current events, politics and society. The last time they were all together, however, the atmosphere became a little tense, turning into a competition of opinions. Larry and Mary felt uncomfortable and left early. Katarina and Bob argued in front of their guests. Ingrid and Heinz found the Americans a bit too senstive.

July 4th is coming up. Bob and Katarina want to have another party and again invite their American and German friends. But this time they decided to take a new approach, sending out invitations, with Bob providing insight for their German guests about how Americans communicate, and Katarina doing the same for their American guests about how Germans communicate. They wrote it in a humorous fashion: “Everything you always wanted to know about those crazy Americans … crazy Germans.”

If you are an American, what would you write to the German guests about how Americans communicate?

If you are a German, what would you write to the Americans guests about how Germans communicate?

If you are neither American nor German, describe how your culture communicates in such a situation?