Do you tend to get along better with foreigners?

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CockneyRebel
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21 Sep 2011, 12:47 pm

I also get along better with foreigners than I do with people my own nationality. I've had many British, American and East Indian friends. One time I said to another member at my clubhouse that I get along better with the British than I do Canadians. That woman said that a couple of staff people were just saying that about me, two days before I mentioned the fact to her.


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IdahoRose
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21 Sep 2011, 12:55 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I also get along better with foreigners than I do with people my own nationality. I've had many British, American and East Indian friends. One time I said to another member at my clubhouse that I get along better with the British than I do Canadians. That woman said that a couple of staff people were just saying that about me, two days before I mentioned the fact to her.

I'm not surprised - you may have been born in Canada, but you've got a British heart. :)



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21 Sep 2011, 3:15 pm

Keeno wrote:
Yes, I was thinking that. With cultural groups large enough to form NT-like cliques, is there an upper limit of outsiders any given population can naturally have?


From my experience it seems to be 4. Once that magic number appears a clique forms and that group is off-limits to Aspergian invasion.


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Wayne
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21 Sep 2011, 3:30 pm

I don't bond with foreigners well. Conversing with native speakers is near my limit... throw in a thick accent and change up the syntax, and conversing becomes too much work.



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21 Sep 2011, 4:20 pm

swbluto wrote:
Fern wrote:
lol, my boyfriend is from another country, so I guess so!


lol, getting along better with them because you're attracted to their sexy accent doesn't count. :)


Well, it's true that I appreciate that point. However, what I was mostly getting at is this:

His native tongue is different than mine, so whenever we talk to one another (in either language), we listen extra hard, and devote 100% of our attention to that. In and of itself that's pretty darn romantic. It's true that misunderstandings still occur, but that happens when a couple speak the same language too. We just have an uncanny ability to shake off the mistakes and move on to the next thing. Also, we are really good at reading eachother's body language. Sometimes he can tell before I can when I'm really tired. I also know when we're holding hands and walking which way he is thinking about walking next. It's just nice. We communicate better than I could with any of my previous boyfriends, who were all from the US like me.



swbluto
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21 Sep 2011, 5:00 pm

TheWingman wrote:
My native language is French, when I speak it, I really struggle to find my words and finish my sentences. When I speak english, I never have this problem.


Really? That's VERY interesting! I wonder why that is?



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21 Sep 2011, 10:09 pm

Karuna wrote:
It's not so much foreigners, it's outsiders. I tend to get on with people that know how it feels to not belong. Whether thats foreigners, different races, people with disabilities, gays, doesn't matter, for me it's because they can't properly tell that i'm different from the norm because they're different from the norm too.

I think in the same way i tend to get on with people that are older/younger and quite often females. It's only when u stick me with someone that's my age and sex that it becomes really obvious how different to normal i am.

This has already been quoted, but it could easily have been written by me. Very good post.


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swbluto
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21 Sep 2011, 10:15 pm

Karuna wrote:
It's not so much foreigners, it's outsiders. I tend to get on with people that know how it feels to not belong. Whether thats foreigners, different races, people with disabilities, gays, doesn't matter, for me it's because they can't properly tell that i'm different from the norm because they're different from the norm too.

I think in the same way i tend to get on with people that are older/younger and quite often females. It's only when u stick me with someone that's my age and sex that it becomes really obvious how different to normal i am.


I'm pretty sure it's just foreigners in my case.



fuzzynavel
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22 Sep 2011, 2:34 am

Yes I think so. I would really like to find a girlfriend in the UK. I like British accents and I like to phone overseas.



KathySilverstein
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22 Sep 2011, 3:33 am

I think the person who said that it had to do with a common outsider status hit the nail on the head. That is probably a major reason why. I was going to say that since foreigners are not as familiar in some cases with our customs, they're not as likely to know if we messed up, but that probably mostly only applies to people who haven't been here long. Some cultures I think are just less superficial and more accepting. I have step-cousins from Israel. From an early age they always seemed worlds more mature than their American peers, from the youngest preteen boy to the girls in their teens (who are now much older). They seemed without pretense or judgement. It was interesting.


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22 Sep 2011, 4:10 am

I have known, worked with, and easily befriended many "foreigners," particularly Ecuadorans, Somali and Oromian.

Aside from the prescient comments on them not-knowing-you-made-a-social-gaff, one thing I've found is that when you have a very limited vocabulary to share with someone, you make up for it with gestures and tone of voice.

The facial expressions, I've never been good with those. But sometimes when I can't speak readily, the pointing and arm flapping is very helpful. Accents are ridiculously easy for me to pick up on ... it's just tone in the voice, music in the language.

I actually know quite a few illiterate people, and I love talking to them. Always, there is much music in their voices, and much dynamism in their gestures. Not a subtle eyebrow wrinkle or tightening of the lips, but broadly expanding the hands to indicate how "big" their "big" is. It makes for very robust, vigorous conversations, even when you only share a couple dozen words.

I once taught a 4 year old Oromian kid to use a crescent wrench (spanner), and he didn't have more than 3 english words. It took about 40 minutes, and was one of the most challenging, most amazing experiences in my life.


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Konets22
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22 Sep 2011, 4:35 am

I used to think it was because of the not fitting in thing, but I've had foreign friends from Russia, Poland, the Philippines and Somalia. All had lived here for years before they meet me, so they had adjusted and yet I got along really well with them. In my case they seemed to appreciate the interest in their own cultures, which I guess is why it works. On the other hand Locals can be quite un-relatable.



TheWingman
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22 Sep 2011, 7:19 am

swbluto wrote:
TheWingman wrote:
My native language is French, when I speak it, I really struggle to find my words and finish my sentences. When I speak english, I never have this problem.


Really? That's VERY interesting! I wonder why that is?


I suppose I use another part of my brain when I speak a foreign language. Also the fact that I know less words make me focus on what I want to say instead of how to say it (how to say what?)
When speaking my own language, I would mix words: for I'm fine, I would say somehting like I'm food (I'm fine - I'm good)
When I am stressed tired, embaressed, I just cannot speak, my mouth get conspitated.

So I decided to live in another language, today I speak English and Dutch on a daily basis and it feels great.



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22 Sep 2011, 9:46 am

An interesting post.

I rarely approach a person who I am not familiar with to initiate a conversation. This changes somehwat when speaking with a foreign person. I often find myself directing and controlling the stream of discourse. I am often the one posing the questions, asking for opinions and managing the resulting responses. I think this also places a steadfast assuredness in the mind of the other party that I am genuinely interested in the conversation, hence why they seem to be my most fruitful 'me-to-stranger' interactions. With peers of my cultural and geographical equivalence the conversation tends to go awry far quicker.

I have had a deep interest in human geography from a very young age (capitals, flags, agglomerations, demonyms, islands, religions etc). I think another contributory factor to the success of 'me-to-foreigner' communication is the knowledge that I can bring to the conversation which often progresses it from the level of mere transient exchange to the level of more sustained and mutually rewarding experience.

To give examples, when speaking with an Afghan gentleman in a cafe I might enquire if he is of Hazara, Tajik or Pashtun ethnic lineage. When speaking with a South-Sudanese taxi driver I might ask him for his views on recent independance and future economic sustainability. I think when people hear something that they wouldn't usually expect from 'some English guy' and it resonates with their own national/cultural identity then they feel far more communicatively stimulated.



Burnbridge
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22 Sep 2011, 10:24 am

Quote:
I suppose I use another part of my brain when I speak a foreign language.


Could be. I know that for me, speaking other languages is rather a lot like theater. Performing a small number of rehearsed "lines" in a particular tone of voice. Perhaps there's just less doubt about what words to use. And conversations in foreign languages (for me) tend to be in very limited settings, such as chatting with the dishwasher one-on-one, as opposed to stumbling into someone's conversation in personal life.

Despite my very limited Spanish vocabulary (and atrocious grammar), i do tend to think in Spanish when I'm working in a kitchen.


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