I feel like I’ve done my good deed today: I helped a colleague with her resume, for her application for an internal position. I hope I got it right, as Dutch and Taiwanese resumes tend to include some different informaiton than US resumes do, but I least I was able to help her toot her own horn much more. she’s got a lot to offer, but is very modest, plus I think her culture is big on not bragging, especially for women.

To balance that I apparently send someone on the LJ Expats community into a frothing rage the other day. I still think that neither of my posts were terribly rude, and that the first one was definitely warranted – you just don’t ask a whole comm for basic information without giving some indication that you’ve at least tried to do some research yourself. Furthermore, her first response was something like “Of course I know the Internet exists” which still doesn’t make me think she’s actually tried to look anything up. (It took me about 30 seconds just now to find the info she needs on the webpage of what would be the US Consulate in Taiwan if we had a Consul here, though I recognize that not all country’s Consular offices are so well organized.)

I admit that my second comment was unnecessailry snippy – it was a perfectly polite response to someone else, but I slipped in a gratuitous mention of the OP’s “dislike for research”, which made her foam at the mouth even more frothily. I shouldn’t have said that; I amreally bad at keeping my mouth shut. At least I have refrained from any further answer to her fulminations.

The thing is, I know I don’t have to respond, because in this case the universe will do it for me. I have experience she lacks and I know almost for certina that this woman is either going to change her attitude or have a completely miserable next few years and a failed marriage. She’s an American expat, living in Belgium with a Dutch husband. If there’s a single tactic that I’d say is absolutely necessary to peace of mind as an expat, it’s assuming whenever possible that no offense is intended. It usually isn’t, and when it is, people tend to make that crystal clear, with no room for ambiguity. But it’s very often that people sound insulting without at all meaning to be, due to lack of cultural overlap or language issues. If she keeps taking offense at every little thing, she’s going to be the one who goes back home telling everyone how horrible and rude Europeans are.

Further, she’s married to a Dutch man. The Dutch are known for being “direct”, but I disagree with that, having sat through too many meetings where arguments went around and around and around. What they are is blunt – willing to tell the truth even when it’s not complimentary. At some point, if her husband is at all typical, he’s going to tell her something like “Of course that makes your butt look big – your butt *is* big” and she’ll be terribly offended again. Also, the “polder model”, which is similar to Australian “tall poppy syndrome”, guarantees that she’ll get told when she’s wrong, flat out.

I won’t predict those things will happen, because it’s always possible she’ll change her attitude, or that she extends tolerance to people around her that she doesn’t exercise on random people on the internet. If not, though, I can almost guarantee a miserable few years ahead. So I don’t need to say anything, and of course I won’t tell her the above because she wouldn’t believe it.

Sure doesn’t make it any easier to shut up and mind my own business, though.