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  1. #1
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Default International bright young thing

    Okay so there's some debate over whether you can type a country or not but I think that it is undeniable that a country has some effect on a persons type.

    So when we're discussing things on this forum sometimes the types we assign are twisted by the influences of that particular country and yet no real discussion (that I recall or can find) seems to have been done on what the various countries are like in personality.

    So I figured I'd start one.

    Describe your native country (ie not one's you've visited but the one you are most affected by, probably where you grew up). What's common practice there which would seem strange to others? What defining characteristics does the country have? Do people from your country have a stereotype to be measured against and if so how do they measure up to it in general?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  2. #2
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    If you believe the stereotypes, Germany is picturebook SJ-land. Let´s have a look at it.

    Things have to be in order. Deeply rooted in tradition, structure and hierarchy are important, so is social status. Not very eager to experiment and when we experiment (politically at least) things tend to go epically wrong (and I mean EPICALLY!). One look at German movies and you´ll see technically well made films (a lot of technical Oscars go to German behind-the-scene experts) with little artistic ambition or crazy Ne to them (there are of course some exceptions).
    After a difficult childhood (crisis of identity, late bloomer) and a, ahem, let´s say wild adolescence it has thoroughly learned its lessons and become conflict avoidant, eager to find compromise in everything, usually looking for a midway solution and social peace. It now has good relationships with its neighbors and is very proud of being see hanging out with the only remaining superpower.
    It calls itself the country of poets and thinkers (rather ironically these days, but among all those engineers, and bureaucrats we produced some wonderful poets and composers in the past) and is very aware of its cultural heritage. Yet it is enthusiastic about almost anything that comes here from across the Atlantic. That is especially true for new gadgets (after all, it is/was also a country of engineers).

    It is secretely proud of its image as a country of hyperpunctual car-building engineers, even though that picture is totally exaggerated and has less and less to do with reality, and has learned to live with a certain neigbor´s constant jokes about them being a nation of killer robots ("Don´t mention the war" and all that).

    This doesn´t mean that Germany doesn´t have a sense of humor, it likes to laugh. Usually from mondays to fridays between 1 am and 1:05 am during lunch break and during the carneval sessions scheduled breaks for laughter (seriously, these exist!!!).

    Now, what do I personally think? I like the fact that, due to its history, this country is less nationalistic than many others. There is a certain love for protocol and burocracy and a rather unconscious sense of superiority towards many other cultures. People are eager to show to foreigners how open-minded they are and almost everybody speaks at least some English, so if you come here, chances are you´ll be positively suprised.
    Politically the country tends to be much more liberal than huge parts of the USA (1/3 have no religion, there is no death penalty - as in almost all industrialized democracies -, we are predominatly pro-choice, our foreign minister just married his boyfriend, etc. plus this is the cradle of environmentalism).
    Would I like to see more of the mediterranean way of life? Hell yeah! Do I appreciate much of what this place has to offer when I´m away? Yup.

    My Spanish friends usually tell me how un-german I am and don´t even feel the need to add that they naturally mean it as a compliment. I think I do have a Prussian soul somewhere deep down inside, but I´m way too P for this country´s standards *sigh*.

    I started by saying the cliché was that of an SJ-place. But that doesn´t mean that this is my own dignosis. Actually, I´m not sure. What did the above sound like to you guys? I´m curious.
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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    Johari / Nohari

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    I actually find Germany to be very Fe. I observe a strong group mentality that sticks together through ritualised traditions and customs. There is a strong feeling of what is considered "normal" and if you don't participate in the "normal" and live differently, they take it as a personal rejection and feel disturbed and insecure because of you.

    I find German society open-minded in a legal sense, they have respect for you as a legal entity with your rights. But I don't find them open-minded in a social way, in the sense that people have different ways of looking at things and doing things. They're pretty self-sufficient and if you don't want to join in, they leave you pretty much out.

    This is hugely generalised of course. I know some very open-minded Germans on an individual basis. I'm talking more very broadly about the general culture.
    the shoheen ho of the wind of the west and the lulla lo of the soft sea billow - Alfred Graves

  4. #4
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    What's common practice there which would seem strange to others?
    I would say that many properties which characterize Italy are known in an almost worldwide fashion. Perhaps though a native might be able to describe much better certain typical nuances.

    Let's see, italians tend to gesticulate a lot whenever they (we) speak. I don't think this characteristic is shared by any other european population, although I have observed many chinese people with the same tendency (especially women). So, this can make us appear more extroverted than we really are, and might also confuse anyone which isn't used to this type of nonverbal communication.

    Another "common practice" which might seem strange is our hatred towards hierarchical rules (i.e. rules which are set by the State). At the same time, though, I would say we are quite respectful of social rules, so this behavior might not be perceived unless there's an explicit situation where a law is present.


    What defining characteristics does the country have?
    Pizza? Ahah just kidding (although it's true, we do eat pizza rather frequently). I'd say Italy is an extremely family-oriented type of society. People tend to be attached to whichever place they have grown up in, which means that mobility is often sentimentally difficult due to purely emotional reasons (moreover, many places offer beautiful scenery, nice food and a peculiar culture/dialect). This trait seems to be largely absent in any society with anglo-saxon or germanic background.

    As much as Italians aren't assigned to this stereotype, we are quite perfectionistic and frantic, compared to many other european populations. Whatever we do, we think it's bad / worthless / could be done better, so we tend to suffer a strong sense of inferiority towards other western european nations, many of whom are proud of almost whatever they do. Our perfectionism, however, is rather peculiar: we are extremely demanding whenever we are accomplishing a complex or novel task, yet we are quite lax whenever the issue at hand is "minor". Obviously this can generate quite a lot of chaos, since a large number of sloppily executed minor tasks can lead to major disruptions. That's why we are frantic and can work very quickly: we often need to deal with crisis situations.

    We generally love to travel, and can be very noisy when compared to your average traveler. I don't know exactly why, generally we tend to be much more civil when we're at home.

    I won't mention politics since my personal experience is that most people do not come in contact with anything that has to do with politics. They are an "elite" completely separated from the general population.

    Italy is often stereotypied as being religious, however most people below 60 don't go to church, don't pray, and generally do not think about anything religious during 99,9 % of the time. We do have many curches, though, and I believe you can still feel a certain catholic background in our stances towards certain phenomena (ex. being against legalized prostitution). As far as open-mindedness goes, big cities tend to be quite open-minded, especially in central and north-western Italy. Smaller towns, especially in the north-east, much less so. Culture is generally regarded as being important, yet we're also extremely critical towards any level of erudition: if you're extremely uninterested in anything cultural, you will be perceived as likely to go nowhere in life; if you're extremely well-read, you will be perceived as a smart-ass which wastes his time reading; if you're average, you're just average so it's not good, you should do better.

    Do people from your country have a stereotype to be measured against and if so how do they measure up to it in general?
    I'd say the typical italian-mediterranean stereotype is only valid in one city (Neaples). Most other places do not strongly differ from the average european standard. However, we do go out at night, have dinner relatively late (depends on the season, too), try to take life not so seriously, use lots of olive oil. So perhaps I just can't see it lol
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    I didn't grow up in Russia but have lived there. In Russia smiling doesn't have quite the same significance as it does in, say, America or England. They don't smile that much in their daily interactions. They can look kind of angry too, but they're not really. They just see smiling for no big reason as fake, so when you put on an initial smiley front, especially if the person doesn't know you, like in a shop, they will often not smile back and look at you weird. Also when they talk, they can sound angry to an English ear, but also they're not. They're fine, it's just a certain emotional intonation that would sound angry in English.

    When they ask "how are you?" this is meant as more of a serious question than as a greeting. So if you ask someone this, you can often get a response about how they don't feel that great. A standard response is "normal'no" (= everything's normal), meaning, ok, not that bad and not that great either.

    They often tend to see Western "positive" manners and attitude as superficial and false.
    the shoheen ho of the wind of the west and the lulla lo of the soft sea billow - Alfred Graves

  6. #6
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbah View Post
    When they ask "how are you?" this is meant as more of a serious question than as a greeting. So if you ask someone this, you can often get a response about how they don't feel that great. A standard response is "normal'no" (= everything's normal), meaning, ok, not that bad and not that great either.
    That's similar over here. The only exception being summer, when you are expected to feel great.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    This video is kinda great portrait of Balkans. Satirical. [YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6cbYqTRUPc&feature=player_embedded#!"]haha[/YOUTUBE]

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerbah View Post
    I didn't grow up in Russia but have lived there. In Russia smiling doesn't have quite the same significance as it does in, say, America or England. They don't smile that much in their daily interactions. They can look kind of angry too, but they're not really. They just see smiling for no big reason as fake, so when you put on an initial smiley front, especially if the person doesn't know you, like in a shop, they will often not smile back and look at you weird. Also when they talk, they can sound angry to an English ear, but also they're not. They're fine, it's just a certain emotional intonation that would sound angry in English.

    When they ask "how are you?" this is meant as more of a serious question than as a greeting. So if you ask someone this, you can often get a response about how they don't feel that great. A standard response is "normal'no" (= everything's normal), meaning, ok, not that bad and not that great either.

    They often tend to see Western "positive" manners and attitude as superficial and false.

    boy, this sounds like you are describing Croatia, word-to-word!!! Haha, seems like Russia is quite similar

    We are very emotionally unexpressive, even asking "how are you?" isnt common or welcomed, it can be perceived as too personal.
    When we write official letters it'd be way too much to write "Dear, Petra"
    we write "Respected, Petra."
    That's just one of tons of examples how emotionality isnt welcomed.
    I dont think it's bc it'd be considered fake, it's mostly bc its considered time wasting, unofficially, I guess we are quite Te country, but not many things get done here which is paradox.


    sending someone in written form, internet, that you dont know very very well is also very weird and rarely seen, very rarely.

    Communication is mostly sarcastical and cynical. It's more expected to be harsh than to be friendly.


    New things arent welcome at all, strong Si values.

    Basically the best thing about Croatia is nature, sea, beaches...

  9. #9
    ¡MI TORTA! Amethyst's Avatar
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    Where I live it seems very xSFJ, of course that can vary wherever you go in the U.S. since people are very different from here compared to say people from California.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    boy, this sounds like you are describing Croatia, word-to-word!!! Haha, seems like Russia is quite similar
    I haven't been all over Eastern Europe but it seems it generally has that kind of feel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    We are very emotionally unexpressive, even asking "how are you?" isnt common or welcomed, it can be perceived as too personal.
    Interesting! Russia is different. They're comfortable showing emotions and are relaxed about sharing negative feelings. You don't have pressure to pretend to be happy more than you actually feel. Even when they don't know you that well they will share meaningful stories and thoughts with you, it's just normal conversation. I like that very much

    Quote Originally Posted by Petra Pan View Post
    Communication is mostly sarcastical and cynical. It's more expected to be harsh than to be friendly.

    New things arent welcome at all, strong Si values.

    Basically the best thing about Croatia is nature, sea, beaches...
    Gosh, why is that? People must feel pretty depressed!...? But yes, the nature sounds lovely...

    I just remembered another interesting thing about Russia that I've never encountered in another country. They have a concept called the "Russian soul". It's complicated, but basically comes down to what they see as the fact that what makes them "Russian" is the quality of their soul. It's sort of mystical and has a long history of thinkers trying to define what makes a soul quintessentially Russian. From what I gathered from my reading, some don't even think you have to be Russian by blood to have the soul. You can even take a quiz

    How Russian Are You?
    the shoheen ho of the wind of the west and the lulla lo of the soft sea billow - Alfred Graves

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