In this essay, I will be explaining “face” in communication and the way that it can portray an entire message with the person giving face not saying a word. There are many different aspects to “face” and I will be defining it, bringing in real life examples and lastly using experts opinion on the issue/ interpreting.
Giving Face is a term mostly used in reference to the Chinese culture. It can be defined as a person’s reputation and how they treat people. David Yau-fai Ho (1976), says that, “it is virtually impossible to think of a facet of social life to which the question of face is irrelevant”. Saving face is another term, yet this one is more widely known to others. To save face is to avoid having public disputes in the first place and having a person’s action be precautionary as to not lose face. Face is different in other cultures as well as valued differently. In a low context culture, such as the United States, people use a direct communication style and believe in the freedom of the individual. Rosenberg, Sarah (2014) says that people in a low context culture say what they mean. If a person is to do something socially incorrect, the person will take the whole fall and the humiliation is not shared. In a high context culture such as China and Japan, the emphasis on the whole group succeeding together is very important. High context cultures do not like disputes and disagreements. To save face in this culture, the group will go with mistakes and miscalculations rather than looking unpleasant.
In real life, face is involved in every culture whether it be low context or high context. Giving face is an important facet to the Chinese when doing business. According to Quimin Dong and Yu-Feng L. Lee when a person in a business that they are new to or do not have the stature of others, they will look for guidance from another that has the status. This process is known as “borrowing face”. In life, this is one of the most valuable parts of face. It is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.