Fun fact: a few weeks ago, I accidentally went to a Russian surf camp in Bali...
And it was one of the happiest mistakes I've made in my entire life!
Being the only native English speaker at Endless Summer Surf Camp, I learned something other than surfing that will probably be beneficial for the rest of my life:
Europeans are probably not as rude as you think.
When I arrived at Endless Summer, I was surprised to be the only non-Russian surfer... but delighted that almost everyone spoke very good English. Not to mention our gorgeous basecamp:
It's just... once in a while, someone would say something that just felt kind of... curt.
For example, I might ask a perfectly harmless, innocent question, and the response would be a sharp, "Of course."
Like I was dumb for asking. Like the answer should have been obvious. What had I done to deserve such a response?
Then I realized: it was time to take my own advice. A I wrote in Next Time Someone Says Something That Hurts or Offends You, Ask Yourself These Two Questions:
We all get hurt by words that were not intended to hurt us.
By asking myself, "Is it true?" I realized that most of the time when I'd heard one of my fellow surfers say, "Of course," if felt curt because an American probably would have said something like, "Yeah," or, "Sure!"
I realized that they probably weren't trying to be dismissive -- they were probably just speaking English the way they'd learned it.
So I asked about it -- and we ended up having a really fun conversation about English slang. I taught them about "it's lit, fam," and other dumb vocab words they might not have learned in school...
And they taught me about SPACE DAY!!! Which actually happened while I was at Endless Summer, and it was a big deal to them. So we surfed with Yuri Gagarin in spirit that April 12.
So, long story short, next time someone who speaks English as a second language is "rude" to you... remind yourself that they probably aren't actually being rude.
They're just speaking their second (or third, or fourth) language. And until you can speak a full sentence in their native language, you really have no right to complain.
Also, fun reminder: cultural immersion is fun, but cultural exchange is waaay better.
5/25/2018 09:17:04 am
Many of the Europeans I know (particularly Germans) have a much more direct, no-BS way of speaking. Honestly, it’s refreshing at times! It seems like we always end up having better conversations without much filler.
10/23/2018 10:59:34 am
I worked with some Germans who came across as rude when they said, "Just do it," instead of, "Yeah, that sounds good," or, "Let's try that." For example, we would be brainstorming through a problem and I would make a suggestion and they would look at me and say, "Just do it." It took a while to figure out they didn't mean it in a harsh way.
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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