Unit 5.1

In the personal and public sphere: Sentimental relationships, family relationships and friendships

Concepts of friends and acquaintances

  • Even though a friend definition in the dictionary says that those are people that you like a lot, their concept in society and how this term is used can be a little bit different. If someone tells you that you are their friend it doesn’t have to mean that you are his or her best friend. It is important to be able to distinguish both of those concepts in society.
    • A friend is normally what you call a person that you can but do not have to know really well. You can meet with them from time to time, you do not call each other very often. You do not have any deep connection with each other, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t like each other.
    • A best friend is the one with whom you form a friendship. They are so close to you that they can even be treated as part of your own family. You support each other no matter how hard the situation gets and can share the deepest secrets.
  • Acquaintances are people who you have met and know slightly, but not well.

The value which is given to the concept of friendship

Friendship is an important social connection formed between best friends that require both giving and receiving. It provides you and your best friend with not only physical but also psychological help. Sometimes one best friend can change a lot in people’s life or is the only person that keeps another person from committing suicide, so friendship is seen as so important relation as family bonds, in some cases even more important.

Social conventions in the behaviour between friends and families, according to the age, sex and established relationship

  • People in the United Kingdom use shaking hands as a form of greeting. It should be done with everybody present in the room: men, women and children.
  • Kissing as a form of greeting is allowed but only between close friends or family members. It is not appropriate when meeting someone for the first time.
  • Last names and titles should be used until you are allowed to use first names.
  • At business meetings business cards are exchanged during introductions. There is no ceremony in exchanging them.

Concept of meeting up with friends:

  • British people tend to be punctual even when it is about friendly meetings.
  • A person who invites for dinner is usually the one who pays.
  • It is a common practice to pay for a round of drinks for friends that you came with.
  • Saying cheers and clicking your glasses is a common practice when starting drinking with your friends.

Using kisses and hugs in a social context:

  • Kissing is common, but it is not appropriate in professional situations. It should be used among friends and family members. It is not appropriate for the first meeting or business meeting.
  • Hugging and touching are also reserved for family members and very close friends. They are also not appropriate in professional situations or with strangers.
  • If somebody clearly states that they do not want to be kissed or hugged, respect that.

Social conventions and behaviour related to public displays of affection

  • British people tend to hide their emotions, showing them off is seen as rude. Try to stay reserved in public.
  • Speaking loudly is seen as rude.

Social conventions and forms in the behaviour between members of the same family, according to the age and established relationship. Differences between urban and rural ways:

  • Women are usually in charge of household chores but this is changing since more families tend to divide chores between men and women, especially in bigger cities.
  • Younger family members usually take care of family elders.

Exercises


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