An Englishman, an American and a German walk into a pub…

Posted on March 8, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanLast night I went to the pub with Mr Nice Guy and a very good friend of ours that’s visiting from Germany.  It wasn’t your average Friday-night-pub-jaunt, and I actually thought it was really amazing and eye-opening experience.

I’ll call our German friend Anna, and she’s an amazing person that’s very comfortable with herself and likes to have a good debate.  But when chatting with her, there’s never even a hint of conflict.  She has an amazing gift to talk about potentially irk-some things without ever sounding accusatory.  It’s an art… she’s a genius…

Over three hours we discussed a handful of wars – WWII, the Cold War, the American Revolution – we discussed the effects of the Berlin Wall, Barack Obama (and the election process), and more and more and more and more…  Oh, and we also talked about other less meaningful topics like mixing electronica with music from the 1930′s and crochet (it wasn’t just a giant history-fest)

And while discussing politics (and a little bit of religion), never once did the atmosphere congeal into discomfort.  No one was ever offended or upset by what was said.

One of the main reasons, I believe, is that none of the criticism was directed at ‘you’.  I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have replaced the word ‘America’ with ‘you’ when we’re talking politics – ESPECIALLY when talking about the war in Iraq.  And I wonder (although I didn’t ask) if the same ever happened to Anna while she was living in another country.

But there was no accusation, no arguing, no tension… just talking, debating and learning.  It was AWESOME…

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Iota March 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Sounds like it was a great evening.

    When I was in the Civil Service, people would seem to hold me responsible for any part of government policy they didn’t like. I guess it’s the same with being an expat. People talk about your country as if you are directly responsible for the behaviour of everyone in it.

  2. pacificyorkshirebird March 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Great post! I know one or two people like that too and I love being around them. It does seem like a gift or something to be able to talk about those kinds of things without even a twinge of discomfort. It had never occured to me before that just the use of the word ‘you’ could be the reason why these conversations are sometimes uncomfortable. Insightful!

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