Japan, Random Thoughts

Intercultural Relationships and Communication

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There is a special level of patience that you need in order to date someone that doesn’t share the same mother-tongue as you. My boyfriend and I speak/understand enough of each other’s language to make fairly complex conversations possible, but there are times when our thoughts don’t reach the other person. Not being able to be understood/not understanding can be a frustrating moment, especially if you’re looking for some kind of feedback on something.

I guess how people would deal with this stems from their personalities. Communication issues aren’t anything new and will happen in any relationship, regardless of the languages spoken.

In my “old age,” I’m not as quick to get confrontational which is helpful when a communication breakdown of level 10 proportions arises. My boyfriend and I are both pretty laid-back, so we might get an attitude, but we just separate for a while inside of escalating it to a fight. Then, after some time to cool our heads, we come back and try to communicate our thoughts again, but maybe in a different way.

If I had to make a breakdown of how we handle a communication breakdown, it would be this:

  • Communication issue
  • Become frustrated/get in your feelings
  • Pump the breaks when the attitude breaks out
  • Physically separate/do something else for a little while
  • Decide how important it is to get that thought across
  • Think of different ways to express that thought
  • Try again but with a different approach

We’re also not above pulling out a whiteboard or a dictionary to make sure we are on the same page.

Fortunately, this isn’t an everyday thing or even every week. I think if our language skills were lower, this might not be a sustainable relationship…for me anyway since it would probably be more like a constant language exchange as opposed to just normal conversations. I purposely avoid the “Please teach me English!” friendships.

Just some Saturday thoughts.

Until next time 🙂

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