My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin:  X. Intercultural Friendship

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: X. Intercultural Friendship

Cultural differences in friendship

There is much similarity in the notion of friendship in different cultures, but at the same time friendships are influenced by their socio-cultural context (Devere, 2010). “Collectivists were more likely than individualists to report both attachment anxiety and avoidance, and anxiety and avoidance were both related to basing self-esteem on appearance and social support” (Cheng & Kwan, 2008, p. 509). Furthermore, in individualistic countries appreciation of friendships is more readily expressed verbally, whereas in collectivistic countries this often happens primarily nonverbally (Bello et al., 2010).
There seem to be cultural differences pertaining to intimacy in friendship (Weinberg, 2003). Findings from a study on Arab Israeli adolescents suggested that traditional societies might foster specific characteristics of intimate friendship. Moreover, among these adolescents intimacy was found to be related to parenting styles (Sharabany et al., 2008). It seems that intimacy is not necessarily based on self-disclosure. Kaplan (2006) described emotions between Israeli men in the light of the nationalism present in Israeli culture, and referred to the central role of the Israeli army when it comes to creating friendships between men. He depicted two models of friendship among men. The first model is the “cool” relationship, underscoring sociability and adventure seeking, involving nonverbal modes of communication and physical support. The other model is the “intellectual” relationship, stressing the exchange of ideas and soul talk (Kaplan, 2007).


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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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