I recently presented at an international association of certified fraud examiners meeting and entered into a conversation about culture which got me thinking - "are we really that different?" The answer at face value is 'yes'. Although we are born with similar traits as humans, immediately we are defined by everything that is around us.
Culture is what makes us different and interesting. It is how we walk, talk, behave, respond, and communicate. There are however some things that culture does not influence with one of those being our human needs.
Maslow defined it best in his hierarchy of needs. We all need the foundations of food, water, shelter, etc. The part that I am most interested with is our social needs. Social needs are based on our psychological and/or emotional requirements. The primary source of behavior in our development is the need for emotional connections such as friendships, family, social organisations, romantic attachments, or other situations involving interactions with others.
Importantly, we all want to be first, heard, immersed in a group, loved, and be number one. When faced with a difficult conversation; take the lower ground, listen twice as much as you talk, acknowledge their emotions, and talk about their personal situation. You will find that empathy and rapport will quickly follow enabling you to move forward much sooner.