Anthropology/No Disrespect


I was with some new people and we were having dinner and it was a cultural experience. The problem is I didn't want to eat some of what they were serving. In a moment insensitivity I may have disrespected there culture and I don't think it took to well. Next thing I know I'm in the middle of a bad situation and now one of the people I possibly disrespected may have taken out a personal vendetta against me. I'm truly sorry if I was  disrespectful, but at the same time I shouldn't feel ashamed of my right to say No. As a anthropologist how do you deal with such situations without walking out of a adventure with a curse on your hands. Is there a trick to passing the delicacy to the dog without burning bridges and possibly dreading the day did business with the natives. And at what point can you confirm its not just you and that it maybe a possibility that your dealing with a hostel/unreasonable  people.  Mind you, eating dinner was really just a metaphor for refusing a business opportunity put the players are really the same. I just want to tell these people I will be respectful without that kindness being mistaken for weakness. I don't want to burn bridges but I don't want to be a pushover. How do you do it.

Hi Jared,  

With out knowing the cultures involved I am at a loss.  First of all what is your cultural background?  Don't say American, what kind of American, what part of the US are you from, what generation American are you etc...  Then what cultures were you dealing with?  Was it dinner or a business meeting, it can make a huge difference.  If you can, tell me a bit more about what happened.  

I work with this ever day.  



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ralph Salier


Business Anthropologist. Business negotiations in multiple cultures and working with multiple cultures in the business arena. Broad understanding of business practices and business "ethics" in different parts of the world.


25+ years in international procurement and negotiations.


MA Anthropology, Proximics

©2017 All rights reserved.