My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin:  XII. Individualism versus Collectivism. Friendships

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XII. Individualism versus Collectivism. Friendships

Whether it is friends or family, Bashar has a lesser need to meet people alone than I have. Moreover, with his more collectivistic orientation he would not turn away someone who would like to join a social interaction. With some exceptions, he would not succumb to my pressure to be with him alone in case the arrival of others prevented that. This is actually what happened in the tale described above, in which his partner in the garage suddenly joined our meeting. By contrast, I would have no problem turning down someone who would like to join, by telling him or her that I would like to spend some time with someone else. Although Bashar prefers group-life, sometimes he feels that being continuously with people is too much for him as well. In this respect, we both accommodated. We mostly meet in the presence of others and occasionally he makes time to be only with me.


Another issue on which there is major difference between us concerns the question whether something is a public or a private matter. At some point, I told Bashar I had received a letter for him from a company. He asked me what is in the letter and was surprised that I did not know. If it was up to him, I could open his letters or check his emails without asking. For me it was obvious that I would not do so without his consent. This is in contrast with the discussion of personal issues. Although there are personal matters that I would prefer not to discuss in public, I tend to be much less private than he is. He would not discuss personal issues in the presence of others. Especially the public discussion of family related issues is taboo. Keeping things private, he sees as a form of security, a way to prevent creating troubles within one’s own family, between families, with friends or with the State. He would not appreciate being asked about these issues. He actually sees talking about one’s life as something for women. This is in sharp contrast with my attitude. I find it important to share emotions, events and developments pertaining to the friendship with my other friends. Bashar did not understand the need of mine to reveal personal information and occasionally felt uncomfortable with the fact that I shared things about him or about the friendship.


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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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