My friend told me that studies (I don't know which though since he also couldn't remember which so take it with a grain of salt) have shown that Asian professionals always prioritize rapport building process before they proceed with doing their works while professionals from some European countries prefer to focus on the works first and then turn to acquaintanceship.
It's nothing to brag about, I assure you, but I believe I'm like the second one. I said that it's not something to brag about because obviously being like that in a place where being sociable at first contact is like mandatory in Malaysian professional world kind of backfires.
When I was contacted by the School about the car that we used to drive to Kuala Lumpur last week about a crack at the windshield screen in front, I was asked what happened. I assured the person that it wasn't my fault or any other patrons in the car. Then, she insisted that it's not like that and suddenly the words "come down to the office" and "insurance" came in the same sentence and I panicked. Why would I do or pay or handle something that involved insurance when it's not my fault?
So, my friends would normally do what many Malaysians do, charm their way out of it. By "charm", I mean to show your friendliness, show that you're on the person's side and to invite the person to be on your side. But I couldn't do that, I was focused on proving and arguing that I was not at fault and at the end, the person sounded intimidated. The person kept saying, "Please come down to the office," and I kept responding, "It's not my fault." with a rather persistent and sure voice.
It kinda made me feel bad because the person did try to be polite, although the person's insistence that it was my fault was a bit too much. Now, I'm grateful that the issue blew over.
What would you do if you were in my position? Would you build rapport with the person and try to be friendly your way out? Or would you turn to a "lawyer" persona and defend the hell out of yourself? I guess every attribute has its own pros and cons but maybe the context plays a role too. And this is where I'm having problems in.