WElcome to

Dreaded relatives visit

No, not them again! Those killing conversations.

“Ugh, I wish we didn’t have to come here.” You say standing before their door. You’re visiting your relatives. It’s your duty; it’s that time of year (the holidays), and you know you have to.

You knock at the door and plaster on a smile.

If you’re honest, they probably like you as much as you like them (meaning – not at all). Both you and they tolerate your visits and suffer through a few hours in the name of holidays and family. When you leave you feel relieved.

I hope you don’t feel like this. You might enjoy every visit. (And I hope they enjoy your visits as much as you enjoy it).

In any case, if you’re going to survive know how to talk to them – how to have a conversation.

That means you want to know two things.

  1. You need to know the language.
  2. You need to know how to converse.

I know Czech well enough to have a conversation (not a fast one, but I can manage). The basic things you need to know are how to start,  ask questions and respond.

Just knowing the language doesn’t mean you can have good conversation. I’m sure you’ve met people who can talk, but you dread it when they do. They kill conversation with embarrassing comments  and awkward phrases. (Yea, I was in a group conversation with two girls a guy and me. He would sometimes make jokes about sex and porn when we were all having a normal conversation – it embarrassed us. There was a better way to deal with him, but I didn’t know it at the time.)

And I’ve seen conversations between people and neither of them knew the other’s language. (They were drunk at the time – that probably had something to do with it. – but hey, they managed to communicate 🙂 This is where the sweet spot is. Knowing the language enough (like being able to speak in English), and also knowing how to have a conversation.

Here’s a tip that might help if you want to check it out.

Keep learning,

Steven


Tags

Communication, ESL, Holidays


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