Europeans and Small Talk or Lack Thereof

  • Thread starter eNtRopY
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  • #1
I always thought I hated small-talk until I went to Europe. I hate the way you can go to lunch or have drinks with a European, and he/she will sit there with nothing to say. It's fvckin' creepy! It makes good ol' red-blooded Americans like myself feel fvckin' nervous!

It's funny because Europeans often criticize Americans for starting conversations about nothing in particular. You know what though? That's a hell of a lot better than sitting there staring at someone who's impersonating a deaf-mute. How can an entire continent of people have absolutely nothing to say? I mean, I know life in Europe moves far slower than in the fast-paced, cut-throat capitalistic, American society... but seriously.

eNtRopY
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Mulder
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Maybe our food's so much better that we decide to eat instead of talking when eating out :wink:
 
  • #3
Andy
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Maybe the Europeans just dont like you.
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
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If you think that's bad, you should hear European talk radio...dead silence!

The old timers in Oregon are like this also. I was once in a busy restaraunt - full of mostly retired folks - that was virtually silent. It was creepy!
 
  • #5
The Grimmus
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oh no culture shock...
 
  • #6
Andy
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oh no culture shock...

You best not be talking about europeans having no culture.
 
  • #7
i think pulp fiction says it all, the scene with travolta and thurman in the diner. 'u know when ure really comfortable with someone when u dont feel u have to fill the silence' (or summink like that). or is it that we have nothing in common. or is it even that if we talked to you u'd have to talk back in that damn annoying accent (that goes for canadians too).
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Andy
You best not be talking about europeans having no culture.

Don't worry, everybody knows us yankees (that means the colonies) ain't got no culture. We just make fun of everyone elses.
 
  • #9
Well to be fair, I would say that the English are least likely to follow this stereotype. From my experiences it is most prevalent in people from the Germanic and Scandinavian countries. Besides, from what I've heard and seen, the English consider themselves to be just English... not really European.

eNtRopY
 
  • #10
damn straight.
 
  • #11
too damn right we aint european, and we are great at small talk, but generally only with people we know quite well. and we refuse to eat with our mouths full which is why dinner coversations are a bit sparse
 
  • #12
Andy
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Thats more like it, we are too civilised to talk whilst eating, i mean thats disgusting isnt it, spitting food everywhere whilst talking.
 
  • #13
Janus
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Originally posted by eNtRopY
Well to be fair, I would say that the English are least likely to follow this stereotype. From my experiences it is most prevalent in people from the Germanic and Scandinavian countries.

eNtRopY

And of those, the Finn's take the prize.
 
  • #14
Originally posted by Janus
And of those, the Finn's take the prize.

You can say that again. Everytime I socialize with a certain Finnish girl, it's like I have to pull the words out of her... but she's so pretty, it's worth it.

eNtRopY
 
  • #15
isnt the weather nice today?
 
  • #16
username
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It just looks nice I bet its going to rain.
 
  • #17
I think europe is awesome, you just got to learn to blend in. remember your in thier country is all, they open up with you if you make it happen.
dx :wink:
 
  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Janus
And of those, the Finn's take the prize.

I'm part Finnish. We are known as the most boring people on earth. Too much snow, vodka, and checkers.
 
  • #19
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I'm part Finnish. We are known as the most boring people on earth. Too much snow, vodka, and checkers.

Sh:t... have seen how beautiful Finnish girls are? They're like Swedish girls with Russian features.

Sometimes, I comtemplate dropping everything and applying for a job at Nokia. I here they pay sh:t... but imagine the view.

Screw conversation! Can a life consisting of taking saunas, drinking vodka, rolling in the snow, and snuggling under warm covers with pretty girls really be that boring? Besides, my sources tell me that Finland has the most national holidays (no work days) of any country in the world... thirty-seven and a half. Don't ask me where the half comes from.

eNtRopY
 
  • #20
pace
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I'm kinda abivalent about it. On one side I'd love my brother to talk more. He just gets home from work, and think everything is perfectly ok and only talk about these small things I know 2 secs what he's about to say. So that's very frustrating.
On the other hand my family in dinners always talk about stuff, usually on building of houses or politics. But still that's pretty smallish, because it's lots of girls but we still talk little about basic things as 'how was your day' or 'how're you feeling'.

Secondly though, and I've not been in usa, when I search through forums it's the americans who I really hate the most for doing the most filling up thread after thread with plain and simple: spam. I'd rather have a forum posted 2 messages by people each day of seriousness, than 50 a day with 90% spam. I really hate when that happens.

I love silence, and often it's because I can't hear myself think when something gotto be 'on' all the time, whether TV or someone talking. But here and there I'd love to just talk about everything also.
 
  • #21
The Grimmus
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Originally posted by Andy
You best not be talking about europeans having no culture.
culture shock...meaning you are surpised by another culture...
 
  • #22
Janus
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I'm part Finnish. We are known as the most boring people on earth. Too much snow, vodka, and checkers.

I'm full Finnish, and born in the town of the conception of our beloved St. Urho.
 
  • #23
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Janus
I'm full Finnish, and born in the town of the conception of our beloved St. Urho.

Excellent. Hello there fellow Finn!

We are from the Palo-Mackey clan. I am just a little less than half by blood...with a touch of the Swede. Note that I'm not sure about the correct spelling of Mackey. The name was changed when my great grandfather came to the US due to some kind of political turmoil or war. My cousin has been to the original homestead in Finland. He traced the family back to the 1400's, but he has not passed along the details yet. I don't yet know the exact location of the farm, but I do hope to go there myself someday.
 
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  • #24
Zantra
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Talking and eating at the same time..

Can you say "MULTITASK?

If there is no small talk, what do you say when you meet at girl? "Hi there, you're pretty, will you marry me?"
 
  • #25
Guybrush Threepwood
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Originally posted by eNtRopY
I hate the way you can go to lunch or have drinks with a European, and he/she will sit there with nothing to say. It's fvckin' creepy! It makes good ol' red-blooded Americans like myself feel fvckin' nervous!
[/B]

maybe you just met someone shy :wink:
 
  • #26
Andy
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Origionally posted by grimmy
oh no culture shock...

This is what you said in your first post your full on ****ing **** wit! judging by that i would assume that youa re trying to say that europeans have no culture when in fact it is us europeans that created culture. So why dont you learn to type you ****er and then people might understand what you are trying to say.
 
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  • #27
Originally posted by Andy
judging by that i would assume that youa re trying to say that europeans have no culture when in fact it is us europeans that created culture.

Yeah, you also invented homos! -- Doug, Ghost World (2001)

eNtRopY
 
  • #28
Ivan Seeking
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With the understanding that this is just for fun...

With the understanding that this is just for fun...you know us Yanks love our friends across the seas; our brothers in arms...our cohorts in crime... ...we even love the French but I'll never say it again... . Have you ever heard about the study which asked the question: What is the average number of tactile contacts between a husband and wife, while in public, and as a function of culture? I don't know the actual numbers by memory but the results went something like this:

Couples from India touched an average of 25 times per hour.
The Chinese came in second I think with 15 -18 contacts per hour.
The French averaged about 10 per hour; and Americans about 4 per hour. As for the British, we are still waiting.

This comes from Deepak Chopra if you care to find it.
 
  • #29
Zantra
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Originally posted by Andy
This is what you said in your first post your full on ****ing **** wit! judging by that i would assume that youa re trying to say that europeans have no culture when in fact it is us europeans that created culture. So why dont you learn to type you ****er and then people might understand what you are trying to say.

I don't know, it seemed pretty clear to me that he was making a sarcastic joke. I think you're reading way too much into it.
 
  • #30
Monique
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Funny comment for a person that doesn't believe in stereotypes hmm, Entropy?

I guess that the person was just intimidated by having an american sitting across.. maybe he/she doesn't speak english?? People can be shy in speaking a foreign language you know. So now that problem is solved..

I have the following situation for you which irritates me to no end: the american (or maybe just michigan) custom of greeting a person by:

hi, how are you doing?
good, how are you?
good.
good!
.. and life goes on as if nothing ever happened ..


Without taking the time of actually slowing down the walk, actually being interested in the answer, actually starting a conversation. Disclaimer: this is not something that just happens to me, rather it is something that happens everywhere, anytime, anyone.


and btw, I really would think that the Indian population tops the charts when it comes to holidays!
 
  • #31
Monique
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The funny thing actually is, that I won't reply with the question how they are doing, but I will still get the 'good' from them, telling you what kind of a reflex it is.

In Europe people will great you with a hi, or hello to acknowledge you while a how are you is associated with a conversation. So I guess this is an example of a culture shock which is translated into rudeness for the observator.
 
  • #32
Zantra
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Saying what the way someone converses irritates you, is like me saying that the way you sip your tea irritates me
 
  • #33
Monique
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The thing that irritates me is the lack of interest. How are you doing? Good. Good. It's crazy. It happened once in the museum, someone walks up to another and it was clear they hadn't seen eachother in a long time: HI! How are you doing? Good, how about you? Good, yes, good. Good. And they went their seperate ways. What to do in a museum, you have a press conference to attent? Your quarterly presentation is on in two minutes? It shockes me. But again, other culture other standars, other customs. If they are fine with it, that is their thing. If you don't like it, find another place that suits you, so that is exactly what I will be doing. Problem solved.

And Entropy, I DO have to give you the fact that Americans, especially girls can have the tendancy to talk A LOT on and on and on, rattle rattle. So much so that my fellow non-american collegues have the hardest time understanding what they are saying, causing much confusion and thus entertainment. Of the american girls I know.. 90% talk that way, but then, I don't know too many of them.
 
  • #34
Originally posted by Monique
Funny comment for a person that doesn't believe in stereotypes hmm, Entropy?

I guess that the person was just intimidated by having an american sitting across.. maybe he/she doesn't speak english?? People can be shy in speaking a foreign language you know. So now that problem is solved..

It is very strange that you are assuming I am refering to only one incident. Furthermore, it is strange that assume I only speak English.

Anyway, what I am talking about is all the occasions in which I went to lunch or dinner with groups of Europeans and observed frequent episodes of long awkward silence.

Also, I have been meeting with a Finnish girl for the last month for social purposes, and I have been somewhat creeped out by her silent manner. I mean, in America, if I meet a girl for drinks, and she contributes little to the conversation, then I can safely assume that she has no interest in me and move on. Yet, this girl continues to call me which clearly indicates that she does not completely distest my company. The situation confuses me, but I have recently read a few articles on the silent nature of Finnish people -- including one entitled the Silence of the Finns. So, I am beginning to accept the fact that it is her... not me. Not that this is a bad thing. I remember when I was in America, I always complained about how pointless small talk is. However, like I said, when you're sitting across from someone who is just sitting there existing, you start to feel like something is terribly wrong... at least if you're an American anyway.

eNtRopY
 
  • #35
Andy
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[After a long pause in their conversation]
Mia Wallace: Don't you hate that?
Vincent Vega: Hate what?
Mia Wallace: Uncomfortable silences.

Mia: Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bull**** in order to become comfortable?

This is the cmdr was getting at, apparently Americans feel the need to yak about bull****, whereas most europeans dont feel the need to ruin a good meal by talking and letting it get cold.
 

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