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10 Amazing Things Only People Who Have Overseas Friends Would Understand

10 Amazing Things Only People Who Have Overseas Friends Would Understand

Human beings not only enjoy the company of others, we thrive on the different types of social interactions with other members of the community.

Having tight bonds with the right people in our lives is very important, and the more friends you have the more you open yourself up for great opportunities. The beautiful thing about modern technology is that you can stay in touch with people from across the globe that you may have only spent a few days with during a holiday.

Even if you have a tight-knit group of good friends at home, it can be both fun and beneficial to nurture your friendship with an overseas friend.

Whether they are a good friend that has moved away or someone you befriended online, there are a lot of amazing things that come with a long-distance friendship.

1. You get a new appreciation for your hometown

A lot of people don’t make an effort to set aside some funds for traveling because they aren’t really motivated. Well, having a friend who lives abroad is a great motivating factor when it comes to traveling, and taking a break from your everyday surroundings can help you deal with stress, make you more creative and give you a new perspective.

When you’ve been away from your hometown for a month visiting a friend, those streets you used to walk on every day suddenly seem a bit different. You learn to appreciate all the little things that you can’t find anywhere else, particularly the food.

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2. You don’t have to spend a fortune on accommodations

As someone who used to travel to the UK every now and then, I quickly learned that the Brits have a long history of very high property prices, and they aren’t willing to give up their living space for pocket change.

A student or anyone else working with a tight budget would be lucky to have friend that they could stay with, as you end up exchanging a few small gifts and pitching in for meals – I went with a couple of bottles of local booze –  in return for having a roof over your head for a few weeks. It’s quite a good deal.

3. You get to learn a whole lot and even change certain views

Nothing changes your views on common stereotypes and teaches you valuable life lessons quite as effectively as spending some time in a significantly different culture.

We’ve always heard rumors about the British being prudish and cold, but all those preconceived notions went down the drain when I sat down to drink with a few Londoners and we had a bunch of laughs, constantly teasing each other.

My British friend also had a chance to experience some of the finer sides of Serbian culture – notably the hospitality, great food and partying – and was pleasantly surprised by the distinct lack of tribal barbarians and 30 year old technology that everyone imagines they’ll find in Eastern Europe.

4. You have an instant fact-check option for different cultures

Don’t get me wrong, Google is a great fact-checking tool, but it’s sometimes best to get the info straight from the horse’s mouth.

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When you have an overseas friend you end up sending them Skype messages with the strangest inquiries, e.g. about European castles, that whole Royal with Cheese business, this strange thing they call Marmite and all the little urban myths someone read online.

5. You pick up foreign languages, which can be a useful skill

Even if you’ve never picked up a foreign dictionary or grammar book, being around someone that speaks another language or having regular conversations online, makes it incredibly easy to pick up a language, and not just one language either.

I learned quite a few useful Spanish phrases when I visited Ireland, because I befriended a cool Spanish guy named Adrian – and yes, we did yell “Yo, Adrian” a bunch of times – on top of learning to sing a few verses in Gaelic.

You can find people from all over the world in the places you least expect them and quickly improve your communication skills.

6. You learn some incredible recipes

Did you know that Italian pizza is nothing like what we commonly eat, and that once you’ve tried olive oil and Greek yogurt in Greece, you’ll never be satisfied with the stuff you can get at your local supermarket?

Trying the local food the way it was meant to be prepared, using quality local ingredients and cooking methods is truly an eye-opening experience.

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If your foreign friend knows his or her way around the kitchen, or has a friend or family member who’s a good cook, you’ll take home a bunch of delicious recipes and some of those authentic local ingredients that make them work.

7. You receive the coolest gifts when they come visit

There are plenty of talented people and good companies making high-quality goods that don’t really have the means to expand globally. You’d be surprised by how much you’re actually missing.

The good thing about this is that when your friends come to visit, they will bring some very cool and unique gifts that no one else in your area has ready access to. I

It can be anything from great sweets and snacks, to interesting items of clothing, gadgets and tools. These things can be great conversation pieces and will become some of your most cherished possessions.

8. You always have someone to talk to in those late hours of the night

The worst thing about being a night owl is that if you get bored or some of those negative thoughts start creeping in and you need someone to talk to, you’re pretty much out of luck. Very few people are going to be willing to have a friendly chat with you at 3-4 am, but your overseas friend might have just finished breakfast or has a few hours to kill before going to sleep.

The time difference allows you to call them up in the weirdest of times and have some great sincere conversations.

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9. You get incredible networking opportunities

Staying in touch with people from different corners of the world means traveling, frequent phone calls, getting to know a different culture and language, and coming in contact with all sorts of interesting people in the process.

Your friend’s family and friends become your friends, and you can also find random encounters, like my Spanish acquaintance, beneficial.

You may get job opportunities, learn new skills or get invited to visit a place you’ve never been before and have a local to show you around town.

10. You pick up strange, but satisfying hobbies and tastes

Who knew that a somewhat clumsy Brit would take to Serbian folk dancing (Kolo) and get quite good at it, or that your average Balkan man would fall in love with British panel shows, and now can’t get enough of them.

I’ve witnessed friends who’ve traveled to China suddenly develop an incredible craving for soy sauce, to the point where they would incorporated into almost every meal. All these things make you a much more interesting person and allow you to see the true beauty of other cultures.

I’m sure everyone who has a good overseas friend will agree with me when I say that, although it can be difficult to be so far apart from someone you enjoy talking to and spending time with, these friendships that cannot be contained by borders have plenty of cool perks as well.

Featured photo credit: Friends – group of people on travel vacation having fun together. Two couples traveling in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, Europe. via shutterstock.com

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

Possessing effective communication skills is a powerful tool to have. Effective communication skills are essential to success in many aspects and areas of your life. There are a lot of jobs that require you to be a good communicator.

Strong communication skills help you enjoy better relationships with friends and family. Being an effective communicator will give you advantages in more ways than you can imagine.

Conversely, being poor at communicating will negatively impact your life.

Let’s take a look at how to master effective communication skills at work and home.

What is Effective Communication?

Probably a good place to start is to paint a picture of what clear communication is.

Effective communication is defined as verbal speech or other communication methods to get your point across. Sounds pretty simple, right? It does but there’s more to it than that.

It’s really about how all of us interact and communicate in every aspect of our lives. It’s the ability to say something at the right time; to be able to get multiple people on the same page in a group decision. It’s how that one friend of yours who plans most of the activities is able to get everyone to the same place at the same time.

Non-verbal communication is key to being effective as well. It’s the ability to have your body language say the right thing so the person you’re speaking to knows your listening.

Effective communicators don’t react to situations with high emotion. It means not having to say something all the time in every situation. You are even being an effective communicator when you show up to pick your daughter up from the mall when you say you will. You are communicating to her that she can rely on you.

Are You a Poor Communicator?

Before we get too deep into how to be a master communicator, let’s take a look at your communication skills.

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If you find yourself agreeing with a lot of these, you might want to sharpen your communication skills.

  • You’re constantly interrupting – Hey, I know, we all want to be listened to. We all want to get our point across. Most importantly, we want to be understood. If you find yourself interrupting all the time you aren’t listening enough.
  • Doing too much – Many of us are master multi-taskers. It’s not good if you are communicating with someone. When you try to do too much while speaking with someone, you aren’t paying attention to what they are saying. Lack of focus is bad.
  • Rambling – I know of several people I work with who do this constantly. I honestly dread having to speak to them. The worst part is even though a lot of words are coming out of their mouths, they really aren’t saying anything. I’m more confused after they answer my question.
  • Not being direct – Nothing wrong with emails or reports. However, if you can convey the same information quickly and directly to someone, it is much more effective. Why write a 2 paragraph email when you can pick up the phone and say the same information in 2 sentences?
  • Always talking about yourself – Everybody likes to relate things to their own experiences. It draws us together and helps us create a feeling of sharing and community. If you are always coloring someone else’s conversation with a similar situation in your life, people will think you are making everything about you. Don’t be that person!
  • Using a lot of qualifiers – Qualifiers are fine for the most part. When you use them as a crutch most of the time when you speak, it’s not helping your communication. Sometimes, we do this to makes things seem “softer”. Saying things like “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way but…” or “I know what you’re thinking but…” over and over doesn’t help you communicate.
  • Your ears don’t work – If you don’t listen well, you can’t answer someone correctly. In order to be an effective communicator, you have to understand what someone else is saying to you. If you don’t listen with purpose you will only have part of the picture.
  • Bad body language – The importance of body language is well documented. If you don’t look at someone when they are speaking, it appears that you don’t really care what’s being said. This makes people feel like you don’t care what they are saying and it’s not important to you. Other bad body language examples include always crossing your arms and not looking someone in the eyes.

What Effective Communication Can Do For You

Let’s take a look at how being able to effectively communicate can help you at work and in your personal relationships.

Work

  • Better client relationships – You certainly want a great communicator to be handling your client relationships. Strong communicators represent both the client and your company is the best manner.
  • Higher employee engagement – Pretty critical if you are a leader or a manager of people. An engaging and interactive communicator in a leadership position is wonderful for employees.
  • Getting better buy in from others – This is great whether you are a manager or individual contributor. Strong communicators tend to get people moving and working towards a common goal.
  • Helps mitigate conflict – Good communicators are able to help resolve conflicts quicker and easier. This helps smooth things over and keeps projects and initiatives moving forward.
  • Builds trust – You want to be able to trust who you work for and with. Effective communicators are good at establishing and building trust between people and groups.
  • Solves problems – Problems are solved by people with the ability to communicate clearly between groups and people. Those without good communication skills many times add to the confusion of a problem because they are unable to articulate their thoughts and ideas.

Personal relationships

  • Creates closeness – A good communicator is able to help foster a feeling of closeness with his or her partner.
  • Makes conflict okay – It’s actually better to fight with your partner from time to time instead of never fighting. We all have differences of opinion and points of view. When we don’t express these and bury it inside by not communicating, it just comes out later in a more negative form.
  • Provides support – It’s nice to know that someone cares about you and supports you. A strong communicator will ask how you’re doing and be a good sounding board for what you’re going through.
  • Expressing feelings – People who are not effective communicators tend to be not very good at expressing how they feel. This makes it tough to share your feelings with you partner.
  • Get the loving you want – In order to get the physical, mental, and emotional love you want and need, you have to be able to communicate clearly and appropriately with your spouse or partner. This is done through effective communication.
  • Eliminate mistrust, doubt, faithlessness, and insecurities – Many times these seeds are sown due to a lack of communication. If your partner rarely tells you where he or she is going, you will tend to start coming up with your own ideas. Often these aren’t true but how would you know if you aren’t told?

Can You Improve Your Communication Skills?

The short answer is yes, of course you can improve your communication skills.

Improving or changing anything in your life takes some work and effort but it can be done. You have to keep in mind your starting point and your goal.

If you are not a very good communicator now and you want to be able to give a motivating speech to a large graduating class, you’d better get working.

On the other hand, if you get along fairly well in general but want to be able to improve your relationship with your boss or spouse by being able to master effective communication, you may just need some guidance and practice.

Either way, if you want to master effective communication skills at both work and home, it will take a little work and effort. Doing so will benefit you in many ways.

How to Master Effective Communication Skills

In general mastering effective communication skills will help you at both work and home. Let’s look at how to improve verbal, written, and body language communication skills. These will help you create better relationships everywhere you go!

1. Learn how to listen

Speaking is only half of the communication equation. Sharpen your listening skills so you are able to process what the other person is saying. You can then respond it a well-informed manner.

Check out these active listening guidelines to be a better listener.

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2. Make eye contact

Having regular eye contact with someone while you are having a conversation shows you care what they are saying. When you are looking at the floor or out the window it gives the impression that you aren’t paying attention.

Take a look at this advice on how to make engaging eye contact.

3. Ask questions

When you ask someone questions, you are able to clarify what they are saying to ensure you get the whole picture. If you don’t understand it fully, ask questions.

Do you know that it takes some skills to ask questions too? Here’s how to be good at asking questions.

4. Watch body language

Watch both yours and the other persons.

We all know if you have a conversation with your arms crossed the entire time, it gives off a bad vibe. Have open, engaging body language when speaking with someone.

On the flip side, if you see someone’s eyes glazing over while speaking to you, it’s probably a good idea to wrap it up.

Take a look at these top 20 body language indicators to learn more.

5. Speak confidently

Sometimes this is easier said than done. If you communicate in an open, direct, and clear manner, it subtly shows people that you are confident in what you are saying.

It doesn’t mean you always have to be right but delivering your thoughts with confidence helps your case.

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These tips will help you speak more confidently.

6. Keep it simple

You don’t always have to be succinct in your communication. There is a lot of value in being able to tell a great story.

That being said, there are many instances where keeping it simple is very helpful. This is especially true at work in both verbal conversations as well as written like emails.

7. Know your audience

You should have a certain style when communicating with your boss. Another style of communication is better with your spouse and probably others with your kids or friends.

Know your audience to help you communicate the most effectively.

8. Be empathetic and understanding

There is a massive amount of power in being empathetic. And I mean that in a very positive way.

Showing that you are empathetic and understanding to another person goes a long way to creating a great bond with that person. We all want to be understood. It’s that simple.

Think it’s a challenge for you? These 5 tips for empathetic listening will help you.

9. Pause before reacting

There have been a number of times when I’ve read an email that just came in and had an instant reaction to reading it. And I don’t mean a positive reaction. My less effective ways of dealing and communicating has been to send a scathing email back.

When I’ve communicated more appropriately, I’ve waited a while before I responded. This is true in verbal situations as well.

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10. Over communicate

You’d think if you tell someone something that should be the end of it, right? Done deal. Not so fast.

I’m not recommending you tell someone the same thing 10 times in a row. With as many distractions as we all have these days, it’s generally a good idea to follow up on something you’ve communicated a few times if it’s important.

Conclusion

Having effective communication skills at both work and home will help you immensely.

At work, it helps you in your career in many ways.

Communicating well with your boss leads to a solid, symbiotic working relationship. You’re able to clearly articulate what you need to do your job well. You can share your vision and strategy with your boss and others. Good communicators are needed in management roles and leading others. Fostering an environment of effective communication leads to a great work environment.

At home, having effective communication skills will help you achieve the type of relationship you want with your spouse.

You are able to speak freely and openly about your feelings. You can share your wants and needs in a manner that your spouse understands. Your spouse will feel understood and supported by you which is a wonderful feeling to have. And being able to have a disagreement and work through it due to strong communication skills is amazing.

Look at how you can master effective communication skills at work and home to help create more satisfying relationships in all phases of your life.

More Resources About Work Communication

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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