如何扩展你的职场人脉

如何与老外闲聊

我常常听我身边的中国学生或白领说,他们最困扰于不知道该如何与周围的老外聊天,以至于时常在学习和工作时感到孤单。每每听到他们说这样的话,我总是会心痛,因为这勾起我对童年的记忆:我在美国长大,也曾感受过这样的痛苦,也曾与孤独感作斗争。

陈愉幼年在美国的照片(前排左二)

朋友们的困扰又让我想起石黑一雄的著名小说《长日六痕》。男主角英国人史蒂芬斯的目标是成为一个完美的管家,为养尊处优的美国主人效力。他的个人风格很严谨、很讲礼貌,就像许多中国人的为人处世方式一样。作为一个在美国的外国人,他往往过分地解读他与美国人交往的细节,而且只有在必要时或有实际的要求时才对主人开口。每当他试图与他人讨论情感话题或开玩笑时,人们总是误解他的意思。所以每当主人开晚宴派对的时候,他都不得不沉默地站在一旁。他对自己说:

真奇怪,人们如何能够如此迅速地热络起来? 虽然这些人可能在派对之前就互相了解,但我还是羡慕他们有如此诙谐的谈话技巧。

这本书出版于1989年,那时我正在杜克大学求学。与史蒂芬斯一样,我知道要与人热络起来,必须要有轻松说笑的能力。但不幸的是,一直到上了大学,我仍然没能掌握这种能力。每当我与美国同学在一起聊天的时候,为了要参与他们的话题,我总是急于想出一个笑话段子或发表一些有趣的言论。可问题在于,每当我的笑话说出口后往往都变了味道,总是显得有些不合时宜。

就像《长日六痕》的结尾那样,史蒂芬斯似乎永远没法与他人建立更深层的关系,因为他缺少两种素质:自我认知善解人意。但他确实迈出了第一步,努力设法与他人进行深层次的互动。

长大后的陈愉(左二)在派对上同背景各异的朋友们干杯

如果你想要学习如何与老外闲聊,这恰恰也就是你所需要迈出的第一步。跳出你的“安乐窝”,不要把你的交友圈局限于中国朋友,主动采取以下行动吧:

  1. 成为一个“T型思考者”: 要想在各种话题上如鱼得水,就得如饥似渴地学习。研究这个世界以及你身边的人们。要想成为思维敏锐且健谈的人,就需要你扩大知识面。我曾写过博客教大家如何做到这点
  2. 问一些与文化差异有关的问题: 我想你已经意识到,老外们都很愿意回答你关于文化差异的问题。他们明白英语不是你的母语,而且他们会很乐于提供帮助。不要再强迫自己说笑话了,如果你对什么事情不明白,直接问他们。相对来说,在一对一的谈话中更容易实施这个策略,而与一群人聊天则相对难一点。
  3. 问私人问题: 当你遇到一个新朋友,尝试着把80%的时间都花在对方而不是自己的身上。在派对上,你可以问对方是如何认识东道主的,以此来开始一段谈话。在职业社交场合,你可以问对方是如何选择职业的。其目标就是让他开口说他自己的故事。你会发现其实每个人都有他有趣的地方,每个人都是有故事的人。最重要的是,人们喜欢谈论自己。

所以,当下次面对老外的时候,你先不要急于自我表现,而是把自己想象成一名记者,或者人类学家,又或者是像我这样的猎头。你的任务就是仔细地观察并了解你身边的人,这样你才能在他们面前留下最好的印象。

提问会引出闲聊,闲聊会帮助你获得诙谐的谈话技巧,而懂得巧妙地说笑是建立热络的人际关系的关键。希望你在练习与老外闲聊中能逐渐发现这是一个很舒适的过程,最后享受其中。

Discussion

14 Responses to “如何与老外闲聊”

  1. Hi,Joy.
    One of my friends comes from Indonesia. So most of our topics are the differences between China and her country.But some times I think: Did I ask too many questions about her country? How can I talk to her like anyone else?She has stayed in China for almost five years…

    Posted by linda.lin | 2010-10-05, 20:52
    • Hi Linda: If you feel you might be asking too many questions, I’d suggest that you ask her if your questions are too many. You might also want to try shifting to asking her personal questions instead of only questions about her country. Good luck! Joy

      Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | 2010-10-06, 05:03
  2. hi joy,
    i am a freshman in Finnish University of applied science. i feel that it is diffcult to talk to them cause i cannot find topics, and Finnish students are not like Chinese. i feel struggled!

    if you could spend few minutes to give some suggestions…so thankful!

    Posted by Zhang Xuesong | 2010-12-01, 07:40
    • Hi Xuesong: Making small talk is one of the major challenges of being in a new country, so don’t feel alone. I hope that this blog post on how to make small talk is helpful to you. In future, I’ll address this topic more, so if you want to get those posts, you may want to subscribe your email address above.

      Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | 2010-12-01, 08:45
  3. Totally agree with the third advice. I think humans are the same. If you are into some topics, then you’ll talk unconsciously. Making friends or communication is based on interests, experiences or feelings. For example, it’s good to know someone in activities, clubbing or volunteering work. but if you don’t like clubbing, you won’t enjoy it, no need to say communication.

    Posted by Lulu | 2011-01-08, 22:40
  4. hi joy, i agree with u! my english is not good, so i write in chinese.
    我是在德国的,大学里一开始我们学院或者我们系只有我一个外国人,可想而知,那时候开始真的比较困难,而且那时候我刚到德国没多久.所以到现在,和德国朋友们可以交谈自如,甚至他们都不会把我当外国人来看待.我经常跟我的周围的中国朋友们说,特别是那些很想交到德国朋友的朋友说,其实不要说我交不到外国朋友,我跟他们没话说,我们有文化差异什么的,其实这都是借口,你融入不了他们的世界最根本的原因就是你自己不愿意去融入!是你自己害怕去说,害怕走出自己的卧室.如果有一天你走出去了,你会慢慢知道和什么样的外国人聊什么样的话题,其实就是从wie geht’S?! how r u doing开始的.joy说的很多,老外很喜欢谈论自己,所以,你要在他谈论自己的时候还要精神集中,期间问几个问题,让他能更多的谈论自己,久而久之,你也就对他和他的事情感兴趣了.
    个人经历之谈而已...
    grüße from germany!
    rui

    Posted by rui Li | 2011-05-18, 14:51
  5. Hi Joy,

    Great advice and I actually tried to follow them. However, I met an American born chinese who only keeps talking about himself. It seems like even after ten times of meeting he still keeps talking about himself while I’m listening to his ideas and complains. It seems like the more I listen, the less likely I’m going to open my mouth and actually speak 🙁 Would you give me some advice on that?

    Posted by Summer | 2011-06-08, 16:42
    • Hi Summer: Maybe he is trying to impress you! If you want to develop a relationship with him, rather than waiting for him to ask you questions, go ahead and jump in with your own ideas and experiences – take charge!

      Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | 2011-06-08, 16:51
  6. hello, joy.
    I am a student now studying in Fairmont Preparatory Academy in Anaheim. It has many international students, especially Chinese. It’s really hard to get into the domestic students social circle. I have been tried for a long time. I believe that I speak English well but it’s so hard to make good friends with American students. My best friends are always Chinese. I admire you very much because I want to be a great HR manager in the future. Do you have some specific advices for me?
    Thank you very much.

    Posted by chloema | 2011-09-09, 16:38
  7. CHLOEMA你好:你的问题很普遍,许多中国学生都有相似的感受和经历;正是为了解答你们的疑惑,我开设了这个博客,希望你们能在这里找到有用的东西。

    Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | 2011-09-09, 17:46
  8. Hi,Joy
    能够为你文章的标题所吸引,进而发现这个网站,我觉得是非常值得庆幸的事情。
    虽然文章是用来指导留学生们如何与老外交流沟通并融入他们交际圈的。但是,对于不善于与人交流的我来说却是很有价值的。
    这个网站像是一扇窗,透过这扇窗可以分享到在当前的生活环境中所接触不到的思想。我很乐意去了解和学习。
    对了,那个“成为T型学习者”的链接好像无效了,请问那篇文章可以继续分享吗?
    非常感谢!

    Posted by zhongjinchen | 2011-10-01, 07:14
  9. “成为一个“T型思考者”: 要想在各种话题上如鱼得水,就得如饥似渴地学习。研究这个世界以及你身边的人们。要想成为思维敏锐且健谈的人,就需要你扩大知识面。我曾写过博客教大家如何做到这点。”
    oops, 找不到这篇文章了。 可否重新连接一下地址

    Posted by Anne.Z | 2011-11-01, 12:05
  10. ANNE.Z和ZHONGJINCHEN:谢谢你们的问题,T型思考的文章在这里:http://www.globalrencai.com/help-drive-china-future-become-a-t-shape-thinker/
    我在博客首页上设置了博客目录,可以链接到GlobalRencai所有博文的目录:http://www.globalrencai.com/global-rencai-blog-index/;谢谢!

    Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | 2011-11-02, 18:50
  11. Hi Joy:

    I highly agree with your advice. That I need to expand my interests so that I would have more topics to make small talk. It is great to see how you connect the concept of T-shape thinker with ” small talk”.

    Best,
    Nan Shen

    Posted by Nan Shen | 2012-03-25, 20:46

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