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Eureka: My experience conversing with Middle Easterners
by Joseph Gatt
2018-06-17 07:58:11
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Last time I talked about negotiating with Middle Easterners, this time I'll talk about conversing with Middle Easterners.

-Football and politics for men, shopping, cooking and clothes for women. A lot of the conversation will deal with football, football players, results and football politics, along with politicians, political history and political politics. For women, they will tend to trade recipes, shopping tips and discuss clothes.

middle001_400-Status means a great deal to them. Rich people only talk to rich people, the middle class a lot of times don't know anyone rich. If you meet someone rich, don't bring an average Middle Easterner with you. They will berrate you for bringing someone not that rich.

-Family and neighbors will be the only real friends. A lot of times Middle Easterners won't talk to anyone who is not from their family or a neighbor. If you venture within a family, that means they consider you're someone very, very special.

-Music is not just music. If Middle Easterners play music, they won't just put a random song from the radio. A lot of times they will carefully choose the song. A sentimental song will be a hint that you can marry a brother or a sister or a family member, a political song will hint that you offended them, a patriotic song will hint that they need you to help them.

-If they're talking to someone else, they're really talking to you. Sometimes they won't want to directly offend you, and will tell someone else what they really meant to tell you.

-Their stories are usually wonderful, just not accurate. They might have travelled the world or been to Hong Kong on a Schengen visa, or might have met the King at a festival and chatted with him for a couple of hours. Don't point out to them that their stories are not accurate.

-The story of the ten commandments. Especially when they are older, they will tend to give you life lessons. You should work hard in life. You should study hard in life. You should be honest in life. A lot of that will be followed with “I work hard” and “I study hard” and “I'm an honest guy.” Again don't contradict them on this.

-The world is made up of tribes. To a lot of Middle Easterners Europeans are one big tribe who all think alike, Americans are one big tribe who all think alike and Africans are one big tribe who all think alike. Democracy and differences of opinion is not their cup of tea.

-Be prepared to be insulted. They will suggest crazy things like that you quit your comfortable job or that you rent an apartment in a working class neighborhood when you have the means to afford something a lot better. Shaming is also common.

-Give them an inch, they'll take a mile. If you give them concessions, they will tend to come back asking for more and more concessions. If you allow them home once, and you're not careful enough, they could settle permanently in your home.

-Don't touch their money or their sister. If you need a loan, they will be ferocious about having you pay it back. If you get near their sister and they disapprove of it, that pretty much means you need to break up with their sister.

-Anything you need and I will help. Why are you asking me for help? It's a common Middle Eastern saying that “anything you need and I will help.” Except that when you actually need their help, they will tell you off for asking them for help.

-The minute you die, you become the genius you once were. As you are alive, they will never discuss your skills, talents, network, knowledge, nor will they tend to discuss you in a positive light. You need to die to become a legend.

-Everyone pretends to be from the intelligence services. A common trick is for Middle Easterners to say that they work for the intelligence services, or that they have close connections with them. This is a trick they tend to play so you can be honest with them.

-I thought you didn't drink! One minute they will tell you how people who drink alcohol will go to hell, the next thing is you see them sipping that glass of wine or downing that whisky.

-And finally, everyone has what you have. As I've said before, Middle Easterners rarely talk about themselves. When they do talk about themselves they do so with a lot of pomp and exaggeration. When you try to tell them a little bit about yourself, they will tend to downplay you by saying you're the average John Doe to them.

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