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Interpersonal Relationships

Speaking quite generally, Americans tend to be open and friendly, ready to socialize and expand their networks of relationships. Social commentators have often called the so-called American “openness” a superficial aspect, imbued more with sentimentality than emotion. There is no telling. America is a large country, and more varied than it might initially seem. The key rule to remember in dealing with relationships in the United States is that there really is no single rule. Rules of etiquette and common sense apply, of course.

The sections that follow give a broad overview of several issues relating to interpersonal relationships in the United States. We start with the question of finding a romantic partner. Americans call meeting people for this purpose “dating,” whatever the age group or gender combination involved. Some Americans are open to romantic and friendly relationships with people of other races and religions, others not so much. If you are an outsider, be sure that many Americans, perhaps most, will accept you as you are, while many others will never open up to you.

Once you meet Americans who are willing to get to know you, keep in mind that the cultural norms relating to relationships differ from those of your native country, if you can identify them in the first place. Americans value individuality, and may not follow clear cultural norms. If you practice the skill of dealing with Americans as individuals, you will be successful in your relationships with them. Listening skills and consideration are both important.

Next Section:Dating

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