So who was I to demand an answer to my questions?

 

When US-Americans make friends overseas they do so for lots of reasons, but at some level it involves feeling comfortable with the individual and liking them as people. However, all individuals are to some extent a product of their culture and in the situation discussed here there is a clash of worldviews at the deepest levels. For the Moroccan Muslim any assertion that they have personal autonomy and can predict future actions is close to religious blasphemy.   

The US-American simply wants the friend to respond directly (and positively) about a planned trip and does not initially recognize that the issue is neither simple nor a matter of personal choice for the friend. The US-American is likely to be thinking, “What’s the big problem?” while for the Moroccan, it is a very big deal that involves a lifetime of religious training and social enculturation. Even if he would like to go and wants to spend time with his new friend, he would be reluctant to affirm the appointment without allowing for the possibility that fate or duty might intervene.  

Their problem is clearly cultural, not personal. If issues like these happen to you while abroad, it would be far better if you were prepared to initially consider that the root cause of such difficulties or misunderstandings comes from cultural conflicts and not attribute them to personal quirks or failures in the friendship.


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