Cultural differences regarding “truth”

I don’t usually delve into the “relationship advice” area, however things come up with our clients sometimes and I’d like to share a bit of experience and to hopefully prevent some couples from digging deep holes for themselves that they can’t get out of.

Style Sheets Master

Different cultures have different views on a whole lot of things. Please read to get a bit more insight into Filipino cultural differences. If you want to sustain a relationship with your Filipina lady, you should be trying to learn as much as you can. And you need to understand and accept that NO culture has a monopoly on truth! Both parties need to learn, and need to try to understand each other.

One area where Filipinos and Australians have differing views is the area of “truth”. Aussies are often very straight down the line, whereas Filipinos can be a bit more flexible. Filipinos rate “not rocking the boat” highly, and can therefore put this ahead of truth.

I had an incident many years ago with a previous girlfriend here. She asked if it would be OK if she bought a donut. Of course I said yes. She then bought, I think, 13 donuts! She was too shy to say she wanted to get donuts for all the extended family, so she asked for one only. If I was Filipino, I would have understood this instantly and would have said nothing in order to spare her from further embarrassment. But being an Aussie, I reacted to what I perceived as an act of deceit! And unlike a Filipino, I overreacted to this. It wasn’t a money issue. It was that I felt she was being sneaky. In Australia we expect everything to be upfront, especially between couples. Here? Most couples keep lots of things from each other, because it’s not considered to be that important.

Who is right? Aussie or Filipino? Not for me to judge, and not for you either.

Advice for ladies? Try to understand that being 100% honest is VERY important to an Australian. Hiding anything, even if it could be confronting or hurtful, we don’t do that. And we expect our wives/fiancées/girlfriends to be the same. Speak up! Don’t be shy, and definitely don’t hide things.

Advice for men? Again, try to understand. Filipinos don’t grow up with their parents telling them to “own up”, or to “take it on the chin”. They are brought up to have a very high regard for the feelings of others and to keep things peaceful and harmonious. Don’t immediately think the worst if you find out she hasn’t been totally candid with you.

Of course I’m referring to harmless things here! Has she declined to tell you about her previous boyfriend? Has she declined to tell you that her Auntie has been telling her she should have married the previous boyfriend? Harmless stuff! Is she already married and didn’t tell you? Far more serious! Is she still involved with the previous boyfriend? DEFINITELY more serious! So use your judgement, but also try to understand that she looks at things differently to you.

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Filed under Advice for Filipinas, Philippines, Relationship Issues

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