I am a permanent nomad, and I’ve been travelling for a while now. Unless I want to give myself up to the world of celibacy, I have to try and make this whole dating thing work with guys who don’t speak the same language as me. Sometimes they might have some grasp of the English language, and sometimes they will know a handful of words – but actually, it’s not *so* difficult to make it work. And dating through the language barrier is not the exclusive remit of travellers like myself. We live in a multicultural world in which people from different cultures and backgrounds live on top of each other – often speaking different languages. To close yourself to the opportunity of dating somebody who doesn’t speak perfect English is to close yourself to somebody who is potentially really special. Here are a few of my tips for dating through the language barrier:
Non verbal activities
I know what you are thinking when I say “non verbal activities” but actually I am not (just) talking about sex. There are, in fact, loads of date activities that don’t require really involved conversations. Instead of choosing to visit the pub where you will invariably just be sat together in silence while getting drunk, pick a fun and physical date activity. A game of bowling can be understood in any language. You can form a sense of competition and support each other at the bowling alley without having to say a word. If you are not the sporty type, then how about cooking a meal together? Working collaboratively to create something special is a great way to spend time with somebody you like and it requires very little in the way of linguistic prowess.
We don’t only communicate with our words. Every time we turn our body, we lean into somebody, we smile, we grimace, or we frown, we are sending signifiers out there into the world. When you begin trying to communicate with gestures instead of words, you will open up a whole new world of communication to yourself. You will also have an improved sense of bodily awareness, and have a greater physical connection to your date – which can never be a bad thing.
We native English speakers have it easy. But as surprising as it may seem, English is not the “everything” of language, and it can’t hurt to have a few other linguistic tricks under your belt. A sure fire way of making your non English speaking date feel more comfortable is by expressing an interest in learning his language. Through expressing a desire to learn key phrases of another language you are showing a willingness to really get to know your date. And if your date needs help with English, and you fancy learning a new language, why not try out some kind of language exchange? By teaching each other your native languages, you will get to spend time with each other and also learn something new. And throwing in some flirty phrases never hurt anyone.