The Importance of Yes and No

Lesson 3: Topic 4 of 14

Much more important is the meaning of “yes” and “no” in cultures where harmony is the priority. “Yes” is more accepting of the person and supporting harmony — even if the real answer is not yes. Directly saying “No” is seen as a conflict. Who wants conflict? The real reason is deeper than that. 

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Harmony cultures ingrain the affirmation of the importance of others from birth. As a result, small children are taught not to emotionally injure others. This is often diametrically opposed to the value  westerners historically place on truth, elevated above feelings. But internal peace is partly kept through a positive environment in eastern society. This means using silence, deflection, or excuses when a “no” is needed. It seems insincere to western ears. But saying an exact “no” would bring great stress to a harmony culture member.