“Cultural Defectives” — Missteps on the journey to understanding

Cultural Detective promotes intercultural competence: the ability to work and relate effectively and enjoyably across cultures. Intercultural competence is not a “state” at which we arrive; it is a journey of lifelong learning.

As we continue learning and growing, miscommunication is inevitably part of the process. Rather frequently, if truth be told, intercultural “experts” or “specialists” miscommunicate. We miscommunicate with our partners, children, friends and neighbors, so of course if we are working virtually with people we see infrequently we will miscommunicate! I remember a colleague telling me years ago that the fact that people can communicate at all is, indeed, rather miraculous.

Such “cultural defectives,” or cross-cultural mis-steps, can be therapeutic to share. They are fun, frequently funny, and help us bond. “Cultural defectives” also, importantly, put our differences on the table as something not to be afraid of, but rather to play with, to learn from, to talk about, and to treat with curiosity and respect.

The blog posts and comments in this section are shared with a good-natured spirit of learning, bonding, and trusting that we can be vulnerable with one another and, together, make our world a better place. As our readers have told us:

Cultural Defective + Cultural Detective = Cultural Effective

Please share your story via the form below, or in the comments. Thanks for helping us build a better world!

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