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8 Things We Can Learn from Canadians

8 Things We Can Learn from Canadians

We can learn a lot from other countries. How to embrace the outdoor café from the French. How to deal with rain from the English. But what about one of our closest neighbors, the Canadians? As it turns out, there’s a lot we can learn from them, too. Here are eight things we can learn from our Canadian friends to the North.

1. How to laugh about anything.

Canadians, as a general rule, have a great sense of humor. Ellen Page, Cobie Smulders, Will Arnett, Nathan Fillion, and Michael J. Fox are just some of the funny people that Canada has so generously donated to make the rest of the world laugh. What more could you ask for?

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2. How to be cold, constantly.

Canada is a cold, cold place. The record low temperature in Toronto in January was -24 degrees Fahrenheit. To me, that seems like a temperature at which you couldn’t even sustain life, let alone keep on with your daily routine. However, in a country that is often very close to zero degrees, its people continue living their lives. Are they superhuman, or are they just really good at dealing with the cold? The world may never know.

3. How to say sorry.

There is a stereotype about Canadians being constantly apologetic. Apparently, if someone even thinks that they might have breathed your air, they will say sorry more times than you know how to respond to. While many other people won’t apologize even if they run you down on the sidewalk, it is not so in Canada.

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4. How to scarf down poutine.

Poutine is a Canadian specialty. It’s basically a dish of fries covered in gravy and cheese curds, and it is seriously one of the most delicious snacks in the world. When I was in seventh grade, my French teacher taught us about poutine and I thought it sounded disgusting. Several years later, on a trip to Montreal, I had some and it was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever eaten. Really, poutine is amazing. Everyone should move to Canada, eat poutine on a daily basis, and gain thirty pounds. It’s worth it.

5. How to master the quick breakfast eatery.

When in Canada, you will see some of its most common inhabitants: moose, apologetic people, the ever-present maple leaf, and Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is a chain similar to Dunkin’ Donuts, only with better coffee and better donuts. It’s fast, efficient, delicious, and everywhere. There is a Tim Hortons on practically every corner of every street of every Canadian city, and it’s great. There are some Tim Hortons stores in the US, but visit a Canadian branch for the full experience.

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6. How to show national pride.

Ah, the maple leaf. It’s everywhere, and unlike some other countries’ flags, it’s not annoying. Just a simple red and white background with a red leaf on top. Clean and simple. We could all take a leaf out of their book (pun intended) and show some tasteful pride in our heritage.

7. How to make anything maple.

Maple isn’t just for syrup these days (though real Canadian maple syrup is wonderful, and everyone should experience it — plus they sell it in really cute maple leaf-shaped bottles). The maple candies that come out of Canada are delicious, soft, and are sweet enough to rot your teeth. It’s no wonder Canadians celebrate the maple leaf.

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8. How to get behind one sport.

Hockey, eh? It’s the first thing most people think of when they are asked about a Canadian team. And it’s only fitting that a sport played on ice would be so popular with the cold-loving people up North. While many people follow sports in other countries, it’s not with the same unity that Canadians follow their beloved hockey.

Featured photo credit: Francois Peladeau via flickr.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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