My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin:  X. Intercultural Friendship

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: X. Intercultural Friendship

Friendship between two people from different cultures is an encounter between two divergent value systems. For an intercultural friendship not only to develop but also to last, it will be required to somehow bridge these differences; something which needs to be an ongoing process throughout the friendship. This can happen – at least partly – through value change. Values are difficult to change, but value change is possible and can be both automatic and effortful (Bardi & Goodwin, 2011).
In a study of 15 intercultural dyads of friends (Lee, 2008) three stages of intercultural friendship were found, with two transitional periods. In the first stage, the encounter, the intercultural friends met for the first time. This was followed by a transitional period in which friends displayed various needs or interests motivating them to continue the friendship. In the second stage, friends tended to engage in frequent interaction. This was followed by a transitional period in which there was a turning point. The turning point marked the start of a third stage, of involvement. In this stage the emerging rules (e.g., confidentiality, mutuality) and roles (e.g., the peacemaker, the “lecturer”) for both friends were much better understood in terms or what is appropriate or inappropriate to be done. The stages found in this study were similar to those found for friends of the same culture, but the transition periods were never studied among same culture friends. In an earlier study on these same intercultural friendship dyads “seven types of activities were identified: (1) positivities/providing assistance; (2) rituals, activities, rules, and roles; (3) self-disclosure; (4) networking; (5) exploring cultures and languages; (6) emphasizing similarities and exploring differences; and (7) conflict/conflict management” (Lee, 2006,  p. 3)


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About the Author

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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