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  • The Arm
  • Expert Waygook

    • 682

    • March 09, 2015, 09:15:02 am
What are the rules?!!
« on: April 12, 2017, 10:34:16 am »
I met my friend at the weekend for a catch up (we hadn't seen each other for a few months so lots to talk about!). 

After about twenty minutes he asks if his friends can join us.  My friend lived in the US for years so he's fluent in English.  His friends can't speak a word of English.  My Korean is terrible.

Obviously I said "sure, no problem" but it actually really annoyed me.  Sure enough, it was as awkward as I imagined.  He was chatting away with his friends while they just kind of stared at me.  I tried to speak some Korean but obviously they weren't interested in speaking elementary level Korean with a foreigner (can't blame them, why would they?).  I didn't really chat to my friend because that would be rude, excluding his friends.

So, I ended up pretty much just sitting there like Forrest Gump.  Every so often my friend asked me if I was ok because I was quiet.  That annoyed me even more.  What did he expect!!  I felt like screaming "What do you want from me in this situation?!!!"

What do you think?  Has this happened to you?  Does it annoy you?  What are the rules for social arrangements and language barriers?!!


  • CO2
  • The Legend

    • 4629

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Gunpo
    more
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 11:50:16 am »
I would go out with my Korean GF and her friends, but I knew what to expect BEFOREHAND and that said, a good 2 or 3 of them would speak English well, so I wasn't caught looking like a chump.

Your experience? That's bollocks, mate.
The joys of fauxtherhood


  • cjszk
  • Expert Waygook

    • 894

    • August 23, 2013, 10:29:05 am
    • Seoul
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 11:54:18 am »
I've been the man in the middle many times. It's awkward. I usually end up spending some nights with one party then the other. For example, one Friday night I spend with foreigners. The other Friday night will be with Koreans. There are lots of differences to say the least... but trying to bring the two worlds together never works. Your friend probably should be realizing that by now if he hasn't.

From my experience, getting trashed drunk is the easiest way to get people of different backgrounds to break the ice and magically find common ground... if you can get them that drunk. I've seen a Chinese guy and an American guy smashed drunk who couldn't even understand each others words suddenly able to communicate with each other in the magic language of the drunk.

Edit: Also, it'd be a good idea to actually let your friend know how you feel about him inviting his Korean friends. If he understands the situation better he can be more aware of it and try to help break the ice.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 11:58:26 am by cjszk »


  • HaLo3
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1058

    • January 02, 2014, 08:19:08 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 11:55:34 am »
I feel the annoyance too sometimes. I was out with my friend for my birthday this year when she invited her boyfriend to join us about halfway through. I had never met the guy before, so it was really awkward. They were talking and shopping together, and I ended up cutting out early (of my own birthday thing).

I tend to find it a bit rude when people suddenly invite other people to a pre-planned thing like that.


  • CO2
  • The Legend

    • 4629

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Gunpo
    more
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 12:00:16 pm »
There's been lots of times I'll go out with someone and his or her Korean friends with the prior knowledge that they'd be talking a lot and I'd probably be gazing off into the middle distance most of the time. My significant other gets into the same sort of situations when I hang out with my English speaking friends. It's lame but, you deal.

My general view is that we came here to teach English, so English is what's to be expected as a primary communication tool between partners. Insert tired clichee of "English as a world language" here.

That said,
1) One should always attempt to ameliorate their Korean. Doesn't matter what speed, just as long as it's getting better.
2) If you learn some Korean and then go out and speak a lot of Korean on first dates and such, that's on you. I only show enough Korean so people know I'm not useless, but I don't want expectations made about my fluency. 
The joys of fauxtherhood


Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 12:25:19 pm »
Go ahead and cancel your pajama party.

I can't believe grown men would have this conversation.


  • CO2
  • The Legend

    • 4629

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Gunpo
    more
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2017, 12:30:43 pm »
Go ahead and cancel your pajama party.

I can't believe grown men would have this conversation.
Please come into my house and tell me what I should be conversing about.
The joys of fauxtherhood


Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 12:44:10 pm »
This situation has happened to me quite a few times. Just gotta deal with it. That being said, my friends are always really considerate about me when it's all Koreans plus me.  They always ask if it's ok to switch to Korean and then loop me back into the conversation when they're done. It is a little awkward but it's not just awkward for us. Koreans feel the same way when they hang out with all foreigners. Usually even for fluent English speaking Koreans, when a bunch of native speakers get together, the speech is either too quick or too filled with slang and other idioms for them to really feel comfortable. It's part and parcel of living overseas I think.


  • HyooMyron
  • Super Waygook

    • 493

    • October 14, 2013, 11:36:39 pm
    • Jinju, S. Korea
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 12:53:25 pm »
First off, it was good that he asked if his friend could join. But it was kinda dumb for you to say yes because you obviously wanted to say no. What's wrong with telling your friend no?

Second, sounds like your friend thinks you are decent enough at Korean to hold a conversation. They kept looking at you while they were talking; they expected you to say something. You assumed that they didn't want to listen to your shite Korean, but how do you know? You said you tried to speak Korean, but they "obviously weren't interested". What does that mean?

Third, he kept asking if you were ok. Your friend saw that you were visibly uncomfortable in this situation. Good on him for asking, but what was your reply? Following the theme of this story, you probably said "yep, no problem". Maybe at this point, he realized your Korean wasn't very good lol (if he didn't know already). Or maybe he thought his friend could speak English. Regardless of what he thought, it was too late; he was in too deep.

Overall, sounds like a shit show lmao. Your "friend" sounds more like an acquaintance. He hardly knows anything about you and you're too scared to give him anything but positive responses.

There aren't many hard rules for social arrangements. Be respectful and honest, I guess? But that's what makes us human, my robot friend. We are able to adapt to multiple different situations.


  • What?What?
  • Expert Waygook

    • 602

    • October 14, 2016, 10:29:17 am
    • Korea
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2017, 12:57:53 pm »
Go ahead and cancel your pajama party.

I can't believe grown men would have this conversation.

Awww are you sad and mad because no one invites you to pyjama parties?  :cry:
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
-A.A. Milne


  • zola
  • The Legend

    • 2737

    • September 30, 2012, 06:56:11 am
    • Korea
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2017, 01:13:28 pm »
First off, it was good that he asked if his friend could join. But it was kinda dumb for you to say yes because you obviously wanted to say no. What's wrong with telling your friend no?

Second, sounds like your friend thinks you are decent enough at Korean to hold a conversation. They kept looking at you while they were talking; they expected you to say something. You assumed that they didn't want to listen to your shite Korean, but how do you know? You said you tried to speak Korean, but they "obviously weren't interested". What does that mean?

Third, he kept asking if you were ok. Your friend saw that you were visibly uncomfortable in this situation. Good on him for asking, but what was your reply? Following the theme of this story, you probably said "yep, no problem". Maybe at this point, he realized your Korean wasn't very good lol (if he didn't know already). Or maybe he thought his friend could speak English. Regardless of what he thought, it was too late; he was in too deep.

Overall, sounds like a shit show lmao. Your "friend" sounds more like an acquaintance. He hardly knows anything about you and you're too scared to give him anything but positive responses.

There aren't many hard rules for social arrangements. Be respectful and honest, I guess? But that's what makes us human, my robot friend. We are able to adapt to multiple different situations.

Yeah OP >:(! And your haircut sucks too!! You and your "friends" need to sort it out >:( >:( >:(
Kpip! - Martin 2018


  • The Arm
  • Expert Waygook

    • 682

    • March 09, 2015, 09:15:02 am
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2017, 01:17:07 pm »
First off, it was good that he asked if his friend could join. But it was kinda dumb for you to say yes because you obviously wanted to say no. What's wrong with telling your friend no?

I didn't say no because I'm not a dick.

Second, sounds like your friend thinks you are decent enough at Korean to hold a conversation. They kept looking at you while they were talking; they expected you to say something. You assumed that they didn't want to listen to your shite Korean, but how do you know? You said you tried to speak Korean, but they "obviously weren't interested". What does that mean?

Nah he knows I can't speak Korean.  That's why I was surprised he would invite them to join us.  His friends weren't looking at me while they were chatting to my friend.  But when no one was talking they kind of just stared at me.  I asked them if they were students, etc but they replied to my friend and unfortunately their answers were out of my Korean reach.

Third, he kept asking if you were ok. Your friend saw that you were visibly uncomfortable in this situation. Good on him for asking, but what was your reply? Following the theme of this story, you probably said "yep, no problem". Maybe at this point, he realized your Korean wasn't very good lol (if he didn't know already). Or maybe he thought his friend could speak English. Regardless of what he thought, it was too late; he was in too deep.

Again, of course I told him I was fine.  Why would I embarrass him, make him feel bad and make an already awkward situation even worse?

Overall, sounds like a shit show lmao. Your "friend" sounds more like an acquaintance. He hardly knows anything about you and you're too scared to give him anything but positive responses.

There aren't many hard rules for social arrangements. Be respectful and honest, I guess? But that's what makes us human, my robot friend. We are able to adapt to multiple different situations.

Well you certainly put me in my place and have given me food for thought!  Eg.  just say whatever you like to your friends!


Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2017, 01:27:34 pm »
Go ahead and cancel your pajama party.

I can't believe grown men would have this conversation.

Awww are you sad and mad because no one invites you to pyjama parties?  :cry:

Nope. I'm pretty sure C02 invited me. But I will decline. I don't wear pajamas.


Please come into my house and tell me what I should be conversing about.


  • HyooMyron
  • Super Waygook

    • 493

    • October 14, 2013, 11:36:39 pm
    • Jinju, S. Korea
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2017, 01:31:45 pm »
Well you certainly put me in my place and have given me food for thought!  Eg.  just say whatever you like to your friends!

Being honest with your friend about being uncomfortable isn't really the samething as saying whatever you want lol. Neither is saying "no" being a dick. But I suppose I can't expect much from someone who asks the internet about social situations. The next step is asking us to dress you  :wink:


Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2017, 01:37:28 pm »
It's called alcohol. Just grab some soju and beer at a place with a baseball game on TV. Let them find their favorite team. Then make grunts and exasperated sighs throughout, punctuated with the occasional fist pump.

Pretty much how lots of sports viewings at the bar go, here or back home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XU5iqrhwW0


  • Lurch
  • Expert Waygook

    • 727

    • September 05, 2011, 08:31:17 am
    • Chungju
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2017, 01:39:50 pm »
Drink heavily. Excitedly practice Korean. When in Korea!


  • OnNut81
  • Expert Waygook

    • 819

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2017, 01:53:54 pm »
When I get into that situation when I'm out with my GF and some of her family our friends (or random Koreans that get dragged into the equation on a night out) I usually just get on my phone and ignore them.  When they ask I honestly tell them "it's boring and no fun."  People generally get that sentiment.  I used to just get up, say bye and leave.  Anyone who lacks the social awareness to exclude a member of the group is not someone whose feelings I worry about sparing.  I've only got a limited amount of nights per week to cut loose.  I want to enjoy them.

Anyways, this video sums up the ruless succinctly enough:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vubA9Lghbss



Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2017, 02:03:53 pm »
You guys are all men, right?

Men are supposed to be able to just sit for an hour while their friend talks about something with someone else and be able to sit in silent reflection, or occasionally chime in, or go off and find a pool table while you two talk. This is why men go to places that serve alcohol and have sports on the TV. One of the great joys of being a man is not having to yap about everything constantly and not needing constant affirmation and emotional validation.

I've been in this situation a bunch. First off, there's always booze. You welcome them by pouring them a shot or a beer. And then you just go with the flow. If people seem edgy, go play a game of darts. Point out a hot girl or a car or the score of the ball game. One word questions. One word answers.



  • zola
  • The Legend

    • 2737

    • September 30, 2012, 06:56:11 am
    • Korea
Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2017, 02:10:30 pm »
What if it's mid morning in a Tom n Toms?
Kpip! - Martin 2018


Re: What are the rules?!!
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2017, 02:17:49 pm »
I'm with the OP, I feel very put-off when I'm asked if other people that I'm not familiar with can join us on the fly. It's just incredibly inconsiderate, ESPECIALLY if there's a language barrier between me and the newcomers. It would be different if this were planned and I'd known about it previously, but c'mon, I don't like being put on the spot like that. It's even worse if the "friend" did it on request by their friends so that their friends could get in English practice with me... or when they're trying to basically pimp me out. This has happened a couple of times, and I've told them to **** off out of my life for good in those cases.

But like the OP, I have a hard time voicing this in the beginning and would rather be amiable about it. Most people are the same way. Just because you asked and we agreed to it doesn't mean it's okay... it just means we'd rather not kick up a fuss over it. So I say "okay" and see how things go, and if it's just as awkward as I expect, I bail out pretty early. I just don't put up with that kind of shit. But I'm still polite about leaving.

I mean if there's no real attempt to include me in conversations -- because I fully expect the friend who did the inviting to take responsibility by evenly dividing his/her time between us and to act as a translator so that no one feels isolated or left out -- then I don't see the point of me being there. This is made even worse if this was supposed to be quality time between the two of us to catch up and whatnot... completely defeats the purpose when you bring strangers who can't communicate with your other companions into the mix.

It's just stupid.

I'm a lot more lax about it if it's only supposed to be a short and temporary meetup, though.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 09:27:33 pm by Chinguetti »