Excerpt from one of the blog entries:
Dutch people don’t mince words. You certainly won’t find them biting their tongues, dying for the courage to finally speak freely. Don’t feel like hearing from your co-worker that she actually doesn’t think your new haircut is all that nice. Too bad. Don’t want to know that the speech you made and worried might have sucked, did in fact, suck, big time. Get used to it. In the Netherlands you are likely going to hear a lot of statements, that in other cultures politely fall into the category of “better left unsaid”.
Whereas nationalities such as the British, Canadian and in some cases American, shy away from discussing “hot topics” such as religion, immigration, politics, money, etc. Dutch people revel in such lively and opinion-fueled debate. Dutch people value honesty and sincerity. What we (non-Dutch peeps) might consider rude or blunt, the Dutch perceive as honesty and truth. In fact, they pride themselves in having and expressing an opinion.(Be sure to check out the comments for further "revelations" regarding the differences in cultures and dialogues, very interesting stuff!)
My opinionatedness has gotten me into plenty of trouble, and not just online, I'm talking about IRL (in real life-- for those people who say "no one would ever say that to a person IRL to their face....well, actually, I would say exactly that to their face... in real life to their face, because I'm Dutch, and I do value honesty as the best policy).
I do not go out of my way to try to be rude or mean to irritate people out of a desire to be aggressive or obnoxious, or what have you. I behave courtiously and when I do get into scrapes regarding my honesty, the Lord always comes to my rescue, and the situation always resolves itself into such a manner that the other "guilty" party admits that I didn't say anything "wrong". This had me bewildered for a long time and then my sweet husband shared this funny website with me, and it cleared up much of my bewilderment.
I thank the Lord for honesty, regardless of how it is perceived or accepted/rejected.