[quote=“joesax”]Has anyone noticed a tendency in smart, independent Taiwanese women to be incredibly stubborn? Like when you suggest something to them, be it the quickest road route to somewhere or an alternative way of looking at things, they’ll just say “No. My way’s best.” And if you try to press the point, they’ll get mad or refuse to discuss things any more.
I have several friends who are like this. Intelligent and thoughtful, but very reluctant to consider any advice or contrary opinions.[/quote]
You just described me perfectly, even though I’m not female or Taiwanese. In my case it stems from the perfectly reasonable conclusion that most people know far less than they think they do and will make bad decisions on my behalf if I let them. The comments from people who think they can get free electricity are a case in point.
I have become a lot worse since coming to Taiwan, because there’s a very different set of expectations. If someone offers to do something for me, or help me in any way at all, I am likely to be somewhat unreceptive. I’ve had too many crap lunches, wrong directions, non-working solutions and shoddy goods bought for me to ever trust anybody to do anything properly. The only exception is when we’ve been through a long process of educating people to understand that I really do know best, and given them a highly detailed specification with no room for variation. Even then…
I try to reason with people, and occasionally they will actually reason back - and I do change my mind sometimes if they make sense - but for the most part it’s safe to say that people are poorly-informed, don’t reason clearly, and make bad decisions. They don’t like being told that they’re wrong either, especially about something they feel qualified to know more about than the other person - such as how things work in Taiwan (even the electricity) by a foreigner.
Another thing to bear in mind is that in Taiwan you don’t question authority, and the process of enquiry is not taught. There is one right answer, dictated from above, and that’s that. Having accepted the right answer, your lady friend is in a difficult position if you challenge her. She’s probably never though about whether her belief is really right or not, and may not be equipped to analyse it through with you. (What do most people know about electricity anyway?) You’re asking her to question authority, go through a reasoning process she’s not comfortable with, to arrive at a ‘truth’ about a topic she doesn’t really know a lot, and potentially lose face by admitting that she’s wrong.
Just refusing to discuss it is a lot easier.