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Comparative culture

"You look tired"

12 August 2011, Kilkenny Ireland

I said hello to a Romanian acquaintance today, standing by her in queue at the supermarket. She told me "you look tired." I asked her if that was considered a polite thing to say in her culture.

She said "what?" and I repeated the question. She didn't really answer, so I explained that, for example, in the Netherlands people will ask if you're tired, and it's only a show of concern — but that, in the English-speaking world, it's kind of rude.

She said "I was just being honest."

I said "I'm only trying to help."

Both were lies, I think.