Lesson 61 Magic words


There are two magic words for Jose, the first one is “Please”.

When I ask him to do something, if I don’t say “Please” Jose will smile to me, a very innocent, warm, Jose’s typical smile, but he will not move at all …

And then if I ask him again, he will behave like he was an idiot that doesn’t understand what I said …

Or, he will put his right hand behind his right ear, saying, “What ? What did you say, Yuan ? I didn’t hear it.”

Or, he will simply tell me, “Yuan, you forgot something.”

Then, I immediately realize, ahh… I forgot to say the magic word “Please.”


Jose’s second magic word is “Thank you.”

I ask Jose to do something and he does it.

But afterwards if I forget to say “Thank you”, he will come by and tell me, “You are welcome.” …

Just a few words, very smooth, very quiet … but totally out of nowhere…

In the beginning I was quite surprised, “What ? Why ? What happened ?”

But later I understood, ahh, ok ok… he is normal …

It is just his own way to remind me that I forgot to say the magic word “Thank you”.


Then these situations repeated and repeated.

One day, I wanted to talk with him seriously.

I said, “You know, Jose, in our Chinese culture, we don’t say “Please” or “Thank you” often, especially to the people close to us.”

Jose was quite surprised, “Oh, really ?”

I said, “Yes. We believe that being much too polite is to make more distance between us. We are family members, we are within the same circle. We need to feel that we are close, close, close to each other. We don’t want to have that kind of separation feeling between us.”

“When Xiao Pang’s parents were here during summer, I said thank you to his mother because it was her preparing the three meals for the whole family every day, but she was not happy.”

“She kept telling me that there was no need to say thank you continuously to her. She felt that I wanted to keep distance from her in that way. In fact it was annoying to her finally.”

Jose said, “Well, it sounds that it is a really serious culture difference.”

I felt relax. Finally, he understood. 

I said, “Yes, it is. You see…”

Jose shaked his head, “But now you live in Québec, don’t you ?”


Later, Jose said “You live here, so you need to learn to adapt to Québec’s culture, right ?”

“I understand that in the Chinese culture close family members want to keep the intimate feelings between them, the same thing for Québec families. “

“I don’t have any jugement against the Chinese culture. But in my opinion, even if we are family members, being close does not mean that we don’t need to give the space for each other ; being close does not mean that we don’t need to recognize the others’ efforts ; being close does not mean that we can take everything the others do for us for granted.”

“So, saying thank you is not trying to create a distance between the closest to us, it is our way to show them our gratitude. By contrast, it is a way to make us closer. You know that word ? Gratitude.”

“Yes, sure, my clients say that they feel gratitude.” I said.

Jose nodded, “Indeed, very important word. But gratitude does not only exist between you and your clients ; it also exists between you and your close family members. You need to feel gratitude towards them.”


Jose said, “Another thing, you know Yuan, you said that we don’t need to be too much polite with the our close relationships, but in my view, you could never be toooooo polite… You agree ?”

“Hmmmm, yes.” I said

“So…” Jose smiled.

“Thank you !” I said.

Jose said, “Good.”

“Thank you very much !” I said.

Jose nodded, “Hmmmm… Even better !”


22/04/2020 07:24 分类: 评论(2) 阅读()

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