The 25-year-old Mali international said that he was eventually convinced by youth team coach Patrick Battiston that looking at someone directly when they are speaking is not a sign of disrespect.
"Before I came to France, my father told me to respect people and he told me above all not to look my elders in the eye when they talk to me," he told BeIN Sport. "He told me to look down to show my respect."
"I said to Cheick, 'Could you please look at me when I speak to you?'," added Battiston. "But he said, 'Where I'm from we don't look adults in the eye'.
"I said, 'Listen Cheick, I respect you, you respect me... Over here you look at people when they talk to you.'"
Diabate also explained how he felt "alone" when he first came to France in 2006 as a 17-year-old after the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations.
"I was a bit scared," he said. "I didn't know what was going to happen and I didn't know I was going to cope without my family. I spent the first two weeks crying the whole time.
"I felt totally alone, and the hardest part was that I didn't speak French. I was in a hotel and I didn't know what anything on the menu meant. They used to give me pasta with raw bloody meat - I'd never seen that before.
"It wasn't winter, but it felt like it to me because I'd never experienced cold, wet weather before. It was just so weird; I couldn't understand how people could actually want to live like this. Why don't they live in Mali?"
Diabate has scored seven goals in 13 Ligue 1 matches for Bordeaux so far this season.