You just met someone new and things really seem to click between the two of you. However, you both come from completely different backgrounds, cultures, and perhaps even countries. Getting to know this new person in your life is all part of the process of dating outside your usual comfort zone.
Due to that initial attraction, we may feel the urge to rush to get to know everything there is to know about this new person, but learning how to fully recognize and understand your cultural differences takes time. This guide will go over some ways that you can get to know someone from another culture and really take advantage of the chemistry that can be found despite your differences.
Tip #1: Communication Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them
When you’re getting to know someone with a different culture than your own, there may be communication pitfalls that you could both run into right off the bat. Knowing what these might be beforehand can really help you in either avoiding them or, if these situations are unavoidable, to handle such them in a more skillful way. Of course, you can’t expect to have everything figured out before you get to know someone, but it is nice to at least have some guidelines to read off from before you proceed.
One of the first pitfalls you might run into, when getting to know your date, is a difference of opinion on how fast the relationship should progress. Let’s say that you come from a background where people were more open to hooking up with each other very quickly and stepping into the bedroom in a matter of days.
The person you are dating is from a country where they tend to take a much longer amount of time in courtship, before choosing to move forward with that type of intimacy. It is important that you are both able to communicate such preferences for how intimacy is handled, in order to avoid mixed messages or miscommunications from either end.
Tip #2: Express Your Appreciation to Your Partner from Another Culture
Since you are looking to date this new person from another culture than your own, it would be beneficial for you to be open to learning new things about them. Show genuine interest in your date and ask plenty of questions about where they come from, what types of things they would enjoy doing in their home country, and anything else that will show your personal appreciation for them and the differences that you share.
On the flip side, also remember to be willing to answer any questions that your date might have about you and your culture. Perhaps your date has only been living in your country for a short time and would like to learn more about the local culture. It can actually make for a great date idea to go and visit places that are related to both of your cultures, in order to really get a better understanding of where each other is coming from.
Tip #3: Respect Their Culture – Do Not Judge
Always be respectful of your date and their culture. Try not to make assumptions and seek to better understand the temperament of your date, before trying to ask questions that are too personal or making any sort of stereotypical or political jokes about anything to do with their place of origin. Some people tend to have a specific type of sense of humour, while others choose not to have that same sense of humour.
Being able to recognize this and respect that individual’s preferences will add harmony to your connection. Remember, you are both attracted to each other, so there is no need to try and cause any sort of issue with each other before learning the other person’s quirks.
Tip #4: Overcoming Language Barriers To Intercultural Communication
Overcoming language barriers is one of the greatest challenges for those who choose to date someone of a different culture. While many people from other countries may know how to speak your mother tongue, not all of them will have the same educational experience to draw off of.
Let’s say, for the sake of giving an example, that you just started dating someone from Ukraine or Russia who has only been learning how to speak English for a year, while you have been speaking English your whole life.
They may have a solid grasp on the basics of the English language, which may be enough to comfortably communicate with you in simpler terms, but that doesn’t mean they will understand everything you say.
There may be times where it will be up to both of you to find ways to communicate more simply. This can be done by many alternative means, such as through visual aids like drawing what you are meaning to say or by looking up how to translate what you are saying into their own native tongue. You can purchase translation books and download apps that will help you in accomplishing this. These can be a great way to help out situations that are difficult for you to get through.
Tip #5: Teach Each Other Something New
On that same note, it goes without saying that your date would likely be very thrilled if you were able to speak at least the basics of their own language. If you want to get to know someone from another culture much better, it would be wise to start brushing up on your own second language skills.
A fantastic way for two people from different cultures to get to know each other well is to work on teaching each other your own native language. If you were to teach your date on how to speak your language, you can also ask them to see if they are willing to do the same. This can make for a fantastic date activity, where you can both experience something new with this other person while expanding your own cultural awareness.
Conclusion: Intercultural Dating Is An Enjoyable challenge
In conclusion, the very best way to get to know someone new is by allowing them to be open and honest with you at their own pace. At the same time, remember to be respectful and understand that not everyone works in the same way. Naturally, if there is undeniable chemistry between the two of you, this should be an enjoyable challenge to work through more than anything.