Author Topic: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster  (Read 2386 times)

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guihong

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Hi, all:

Wasn't sure this should go in Technology, as it could happen in real life, too.

Let's say you meet someone on Facebook or other media, and they say they are from Country A.  You're not sure where Country A is, but you do know that in the not-too-dim past, there was a great disaster there; say, an earthquake. 

This is just to reassure me that it's probably best to say something like "I've heard of Country A; it's down by Countries B and C, isn't it?"  rather than "Oh, where the big earthquake was".  After all, you don't know if they lost someone in said quake, especially if Country A is very small.

I think I've inadvertently made this mistake before  :-[ but I'm quickly trying to think of better questions.



RingTailedLemur

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 04:17:39 PM »
How about admitting you don't know anything about their home country, and asking them to tell you about it?

Open questions are great relationship/friendship-starters!

guihong

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 04:25:04 PM »
How about admitting you don't know anything about their home country, and asking them to tell you about it?

Open questions are great relationship/friendship-starters!

That's an even better idea, and works most of the time :)



Pippen

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 05:13:50 PM »
Being from a small country a lot of people have never heard of, it comes as no big surprise so it is highly unlikely they would take offense. If all you know about the place is a disaster you have heard about in the news then that is a big step up from nothing and it is fine to mention it in passing you are aware of what happened, but probably best not to question them on it as that can lead you into areas you may not really want to go.

marcel

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 05:23:36 PM »
Off course, when it happens on facebook, google is your friend.
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Perfect Circle

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2012, 05:33:22 PM »
You could research the country online like Marcel said to find out some basic facts and give you some good conversation openers.

I have to say though that as a native of a small unknown country I prefer that part to be over quickly - I like to talk about things I have more interest in rather than provide lots of information of where I come from originally. Some questions are fine of course but it can get a bit tiresome after ten minutes. I am not implying at all that you would do that, of course, just sharing how I feel about this topic.
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Virg

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 09:58:09 AM »
If it's not moment communication like chat or on the phone/face to face, I'd just look up the Wiki page for the country to learn a bit about it, and then ask them about it when I joined the communication.  If I was communicating live, I'd try something like, "I don't know much about your home country, so tell me a little about it." (if it's appropriate to chat about their home country, of course; I wouldn't want to derail the conversation at hand).

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bopper

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 11:50:39 AM »
Or "All I know about country is Disaster A but I know there is more to it! Tell me about where you come from."

O'Dell

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 01:36:53 PM »
Is there any particular reason that you feel the need to bring up their country? I used to play a game online on an EU server (I'm American) and rarely did we discuss where we were from unless we came in contact fairly often. Once the initial curiosity was satisfied, it was dropped. Although I admit that sometimes it led to me doing some casual research on different countries.

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Moray

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2012, 01:40:52 PM »
That's my question, too, O'Dell. I'm trying to think of how this requires you to volunteer what you know about [x country]. There are a lot of other ways to make polite conversation that don't leave you scrambling for the World Factbook :)
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HonorH

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Re: When all you know about someone's homeland is a big disaster
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2012, 01:48:40 PM »
I once met an absolutely gorgeous guy from India. Within minutes, I'd mentioned curry, Bollywood and cricket and noted that his name sounded like it was from Lord of the Rings.

*facepalm*

Which is to say, you aren't the only one to stick your foot in your mouth regarding other countries. Just admit you don't know much about their country and ask some open-ended questions about it. They'll probably be only too happy to talk about where they're from.
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