(Or, you’re right, your country IS the best in the world). Has this every happened to you: you find yourself sitting on a sofa at a party, surrounded by young, attractive people from other countries (happens to me all the time).
These foreigners are talking to themselves in a mix of broken English and their native tongue, and seem to be having fun. You would like to break the barrier, to reach out and communicate with these kindred souls, but you just don’t know where to start!
Or, you find yourself in a foreign country, and you simply would like to get along a little better with Foreigner X who happens to be standing next to you at that point in time. What do you do? I’ll tell you:
1. Observe which country this person is from (France, China, Czech, wherever)
2. Reach back into your memory (hazy and obscured by countless keg parties and late-night bong hits, no doubt), and come up with a fact about that country, a well-known product made there, a high-profile political leader (Hitler is always a great one for Germans), or a stereotypical trait of that nationality.
3. Approach Foreigner X and tell them how much you like the well-known product, how intrigued you are by the high-profile political leader, or how you’ve always wondered if that stereotype was true.
For example, “You know, the French make the fastest trains in the world”, or “That Mao-Tse Tung sure was an intriguing personality”, or “Stolichnaya Vodka. Mmmmmmm gets ya’ hammered reeeeal quick-like… ” It’s that easy. Your comment will lead you both into delightful conversation.
Why this works:
Unlike Americans, people from other countries are, generally, extremely proud of their nationality. It’s only we Americans who are overwhelmingly self-deprecating about our place of origin. Also, most people who aren’t from the US think the US is the richest, most powerful, hip, attractive country in the universe (thanks to the mass-media juggernaut in Hollywood).
So when an American expresses sincere appreciation of an aspect of a foreign culture, it is a powerful indirect compliment. And everybody enjoys a frank compliment.
Also, Americans have a reputation abroad for being self-centered and ignorant of other cultures. The interest you express in a foreigner’s homeland will give you depth in their eyes. (This is a bonus when seducing foreign women. )
In conclusion, to break the ice with foreigners, oooh and aaaah over their cultural heritage, implying that their country is in some way superior to yours. Nooky will most likely follow. This is a quick, simple, undemanding way to get conversation going.
Can you argue with that? Feel free to rip me a new one about the above subject matter, at email@example.com. Photo: Jon Bower