British way of behavior and communication, Intercultural Communication Autumn 2008
Kristianstad University, Sweden
2. British way of behavior and
communication Lee, Hunjae
I am impressed
with some introduction of British culture. It is somewhat strict and elegant.
But I think that the main points are rationality, love for humanity and
benevolence. And many behavior and communication appear well in the form of
utilitarianism which is originated from the Britain philosophers, J. Bentham
and J.S. Mill. Another famous Britain philosopher B. Russell who won Novel
Prize in Literature wrote an essay about his purpose of life called “Three
Passions I Have Lived For.”. Here are Russell’s three: The longing for love; the search for knowledge; and what he called
“the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.” It represents traditional Britain spirits
On these base I
can easily understand British social customs. British people place considerable
value on punctuality. If you agree to meet friends at two o’clock, you can bet
that they’ll be there just after two. Since Britons are so time conscious, the
pace of life may seem very rushed. In Britain, people make great effort to
arrive on time. It is often considered impolite to arrive even a few minutes
late. If you are unable to keep an appointment, it is expected that you call
the person you are meeting. The British are said to be reserved in manners,
dress and speech. They are famous for their politeness, self-discipline and
especially for their sense of humor. Basic politeness (please, thank you,
excuse me) is expected.
business in the UK, the British are also rather formal. Business attire is
conservative. Men should wear a dark coloured, conservative business suit and women
should wear either a business suit or a conservative dress. Most people use the
courtesy titles or Mr, Mrs or Miss and their surname. Mr and Mrs are words in
the United Kingdom and do not require a period after them as they are not
abbreviations. And if someone has been knighted, they are called ‘Sir’ followed
by their first and surnames or ‘Sir’ followed simply by their first name.
And Do and Don’ts
in England list is more interesting and useful information : They like to form
orderly queues (standing in line) and wait patiently for their turn when the
situation like boarding a bus. It is usual to queue when required, and expected
that you will take your correct turn and not push in front. It is impolite for
men to wear hats indoors especially in churches. Nowadays, it is becoming more
common to see men wearing hats indoors. However, this is still seen as being
impolite, especially to the older generations. It is important to remember
DO-NOT list for safe communication. We should not greet people with a kiss in
general. They only kiss people who are close friends and relatives. And
we had better avoid doing gestures such as backslapping and hugging. This is also
only done among close friends.
for small talk are very similar around the world. In Britain that include age, appearance,
personal gossip, offensive joke about sex or race, income, intimate
relationship, politics (especially EU), religion, complaints about Britain.
One of the most
interesting thing about Britain culture is their attitude toward animal. I
wonder that they will blame the person for being bitten by dogs if the person
is just a passerby. No matter how much they may love animals, I think that it
is like a non-sense to protect other people’s human rights. Is the handout exaggerate
the animal issue?
In sum, we can’t
learn everything about British way of behavior and communication in this short time
like learning another culture. However, if we are careful of stepping over some
taboos in certain cultures, the rest is “Be nice, Be kind, Smile” enough to
adapt ourselves to new environment.