Yes or no

How to say no

Posted by Marion de Groot on September 29, 2008
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In many countries, saying no is not very appropriate. I once observed a conversation between a shop attendant and a customer, here in Amsterdam, that illustrates this.

A lady stood at the counter of an optician, and asked the girl behind the counter whether they had one-day-use contact lenses. The girl (I guessed she was of Iranian descent, or something similar) made an apologizing and troubled facial expression, but didn't say a word. The lady looked confused and said: "Excuse me, did you say no?" She forced the 'poor' girl to actually say the word 'no'.

In the Dutch culture, people want you to say what you mean. No means no, and 'no' is not a bad thing. I heard that Americans also have a difficulty with saying no. They'd rather say something like: 'I'll see what I can do'. How is that in your culture?


No means yes

Posted by Jack on September 05, 2008
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In Chinese culture, it is very common to offer food to your visitors. But the visitor will always say "no", even when he's hungry. Why? Often you'll get food anyway if you don't say it loud enough.

At dinner people will ask you if you want more beer. You say no, but they will poor it in anyway. Why??

First, some people don't really want to offer you food. They sometimes offer it as a sign of politeness.

So why will everybody say "no"? It is also politeness! To say "yes" is very rude. That's why you'll get your beer anyway. The correct way to stop them pouring in is to not to drink from your glass, even when it's full…

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