Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Passive-Aggressive Tendency of Costa Ricans

I don't really know or understand how or why, but passive-aggressiveness is a widespread trait among Costa Ricans. The vast majority of Costa Ricans will do anything to avoid a conflict (maybe that has something to do with the reason there is no military here, and why it is so easy to bribe a police officer?). This usually manifests itself as lying right to your face. A poll taken by daily newspaper La Nación a few months ago showed that some amazing percentage (something like 96%) of Costa Ricans believe it is okay to lie. Wow. That in itself is incredible to me, and something I truly do not want my son to think is okay. One reason I will be moving out of this country before he is old enough to learn that trait.

The reason I bring this all up is that, as you already know, we have decided to move and went to look at a house in Santa Ana on Monday. The two biggest concerns I had with the house were that the backyard was very small (and we have a pile o'dogs over here), and that the staircase was a little scary for a toddler. At any rate, we decided to take the house and use baby gates, etc., and called the owners to let them know we wanted to rent it. We all set up a meeting to sign the rental contract on Tuesday afternoon. (Side note: In Costa Rica, it's not usual for landlords to get a bunch of applicants and then pick and choose the tenants from among them. The market is such that, if a house comes available that you like, you usually get it. This is the opposite of say, places like California or New York.)

On Tuesday morning, our prospective landlords call to say that they had another meeting come up and wouldn't be able to see us until Wednesday afternoon instead. I immediately smell fish. At any rate, we have things to do all day, and on the way back from doing them, we decide to stop by the house for one more look, just to be sure we want to move into it. This is right about the same time that we were supposed to be signing the rental contract. Who is in front of the house at their "other meeting" but the homeowners and another couple looking at the house! They had, apparently, decided to show the house to other people to see if they could get someone better in there, and I don't blame them. But why feel the need to lie about it to complete strangers? Anyway, esposo calls them later that night to find out if we still have the house, and they make up this ridiculous story that they have decided to move closer to San Jose and rent out their house in Grecia instead. What a load of crap! Why not just say, "We decided to rent the house to someone else" and leave it at that? Again, why lie to complete strangers that they will most likely never see again in their lives? I seriously do not understand the need to compulsively lie to avoid any type of conflict whatsoever; it is just beyond annoying. Rest assured that if you know a Costa Rican, they will lie to you about something at some point, probably sooner than later. The most common lie is, "I have a meeting scheduled," when they simply don't want to do something. Another one is when asking for directions, most Costa Ricans would rather say anything than "I don't know." How is that helpful?

So frustrating.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. I completely agree with you.It can be awfully frustrating to be outrightly lied to when all that was really necessary was to be told the truth! Ticos thrive on passive agressive behaviour, to be honest it just makes them look dishonest cheats.