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One of my best friends is from Puerto Rico. While Puerto Rico is United States territory, a differing culture still exists on this island that many in America do not take enough time to learn about.

From what my friend tells me, it seems like a lot of people who live in Puerto Rico grow up bilingual. Her family worked very hard to teach her Spanish as well as English growing up. I think that you can learn a lot by having friends who are from different cultures. They can help you learn more about yourself and also help you broaden cultural understanding.

For example, I have noticed that my friend is a lot more direct in her communication than I am. She says everything like it is and I feel like that has a lot to do with her background. Her family also seems to be very direct and upfront when they have issues or need to talk about something. I have always appreciated this quality about her because I grew up in the south. The south has a general reputation of blessing a lot of hearts (this is code for honey you need to work on this…..) In the south, we, unfortunately, have a tendency to sugar coat a lot of our methods of communicating. This is not always a “fake” way of communicating, but just a way that we convey our feelings. I have found that my family is not always as direct and as brutally honest with their communication as other cultures ( northern states are often more direct with their communication). We are honest but we do not always talk through things or we find a nice way to communicate tension.

I have a lot of friends who do not live in the south and they are very forthright. Many of them often express to me how they think the south is “fake.” I find it interesting to discover these diverse views about culture even though this is a subculture. I feel like this relates back to the individualistic mindset represented in the U.S. We value setting goals and staying motivated, while many other cultures are more relational.

The relationship aspect present in other cultures seems to suggest their willingness to be more forthright and that actually strengthens the relationships they have with others. There can be differing worldviews within the cultures represented in the U.S. I have learned from my bilingual friend in that being more direct with my communication is something that I value. This is an article where you can read more about how culture influences behavior. More specifically the differences of behavior between individualistic mindsets and collectivism.

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