The Coconut-Peach-Syndrome

What are you?

One reason cross-cultural communication can be difficult.

Some cultures get classified as peach or coconut playfully.

U.S.A. and Japan are good examples of so-called “peach” cultures. Americans and Japanese are “soft” on the outside. They are very friendly to people they just met. They smile at strangers, chat, share information, and are very nice and helpful. However, once you get past the initial friendliness, you see their real private self is protected by a hard shell of the pit. You often hear complains that they are nice only on the outside, but it’s impossible to become real friends with an American or Japanese.

Russia and Germany are good examples of “coconut” cultures. They are “hard” on the outside. They rarely smile at strangers, do not easily engage in conversations, and may look nor friendly or even aggressive first. However, if you manage to break through their hard outer shell, they tend to become close loyal friends who will accept you as family.

These differences often lead to misunderstandings and conflict:

Russians and Germans may think that Americans and Japanese are shallow, have a fake smile, manipulative and egoistic.

Americans and Japanese may think that Russians and Germans are rude, aggressive, humorless, cold, angry, and nepotistic.

In reality, one is just soft of outside and hard on the inside like a peach, and the other is hard on the outside and soft on the inside like a coconut.

And me? I feel like a coconut-peach. My background is coconut-german. My curiousity for humans and stories about different lifestyles, my past as trained actress let me appear as peach person. So i know very well when other germans are confused about my open hearted outgoingness. "Why she is so happy and open? That's not normal...." But i also remember when i met my friends from the USA and Italy for the first time. I was the same "Why they are so open and optimistic? There must be something wrong... Are the fake?".

When i had confusions about the italian culture, some friends from Spain and Greece helped to understand, because they are also from a so-called peach culture.

Over the years i learned to handle those different culture backgrounds or let's say the different personalities. Do not think bad about someone that you do not really know. It's up to you how you respons and what kind of expectations you have.

People are mostly friendly. Let go, be open and find beauty in new ones. You live, you learn.


Lots of Love & Optimism

Anja Kadt, Founder of 'Female Expats United'


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