“In China, “face” or mianxi, was a concept that a westerner like Fortune did not instinctively understand, describing as it does the prestige and reputation one gains from every human interaction…”Face” expressed a person’s position within his or her network and was the mechanism by which Chinese assessed their obligations: which orders to obey, which favors to grant, and which supplications and apologies to make. For All the Tea in China– Sarah Rose
When I read this book, I thought it was an interesting thing to ponder- In my mind, it’s sort of like, treat the people who treat you well with respect and kindness and gratitude, and treat the people who are mean to you with meanness back… But I’d like to know how you interpret this… What do you think the concept of “face” represents?
My only glitch in this is, does this process make you beholden to people who aren’t necessarily nice, but just nice for a price?
Example- The guy on the corner sells fake watches. If you are nice to him, respect his territory and don’t tell on him, he is nice in return. But your neighbor tells an unsuspecting tourist not to buy the watch because while the “model” he shows you is operational, the one he actually sells to you is empty of mechanism. The fake watch salesman does everything he can to make your neighbors life miserable. In theory, what good is warning the tourist who lives somewhere else? That person can’t save you from the day to day…
In theory, I know we should be spreading sunshine and lollipops and unicorns to everyone. However- if you open up your phone to news headlines, you know that just isn’t how life works… Just because you treat people with kindness doesn’t mean that’s how the world will treat you back. Remember the adage nice guys finish last– it’s a “thing” for a reason…
I know I’m spinning lots of plates in the air in this post, but how do you determine how to treat people?
Are you respectful until they give you a reason not to be?
Are you cautious until they prove they are worthy of your time?
Do you follow the group and make your decision based on how others treat the person?
Do you stereotype? (FYI- stereotype can mean assuming that someone who lives in a rural community and happens to go to church is a card carrying Trump supporter, or someone living in NYC is a Communist)
Respond to any, or all of my thoughts and questions, or toss out some questions of your own. This is a thinking exercise, so every answer and thought is valuable in thinking about this subject: