Westerners and Face

Lesson 3: Topic 8 of 14

It might all seem confusing to a western mind. The best way to win the Face “game” is to concentrate on giving praise, both in private and in front of others. Criticism is best given in private, and must be introduced using praise. Direct correction can be devastating to a person from a Face-focused culture. Always come at rebuke from an angle, smothered with good vibes. 

Once you’ve acknowledged things you can praise, carefully speak of the problem indirectly: “There is a problem” instead of “You did this.” The issue needs to be verbally something that happened. A Face-saving person reads between the lines. They’ve been doing this their entire life! Follow the negative with positive comments: “I know we can all move past this. This is a good team and we are so pleased that…” Compliments can be directly addressed to the person. “You are a valuable part of our team. Everyone appreciates your hard work.” Leave the conversation on good terms. 

After having a conversation that focused on the positive, but addressed the problem, then what? Help the person to re-integrate with grace by complimenting them publicly. But don’t refer to the problem. 

That’s a win-win! 

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