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Boyfriends Friends

  • 21-10-2022 12:01pm
    Registered Users Posts: 11 Lisn

    Does anyone have any tips on connecting with bfs friends?

    My bf is not Irish one of his friend groups tend to not speak English to eachother. All of his other friends from home have gotten along with me well and switch to English if I am invited to an event.

    There is this one group that continue speaking Hindi even when they invite me. They have asked why I am quiet around them and made comments about how I must be shy. I have explained that if I don't understand the conversation I can't participate.

    I at first put this down to this language being the group norm and a force of habit, and maybe something they miss from home. My boyfriend would translate things for me which made me feel a bit isolated.

    I asked him to say something to the group but they continued not ever addressing or acknowledging me and only speaking in Hindi. This time I asked my bf to give a gentle reminder that if they invite me we need to pick a common language.

    I have avoided the group for a while due to college (accelerated programme so I study during summer also) and work. I am really nervous about seeing them this weekend (for their holiday) due to the lack of a common language from them I really don't know anything about them even though I've known who they are for a while.

    My bf has asked them to speak in a common language if they want to invite me, but I feel like the situation will be awkward this weekend and I am feeling rather anxious.

    Does anyone have anyone have any advice for trying to connect with this group?

    Post edited by Hannibal_Smith on


  • Registered Users Posts: 180 ✭✭Schnooks

    If they cannot speak English, then I can understand why they would converse in Hindi. BUT, if they are living in Ireland, I would imagine they all speak English very well, as do most people I have met from that part of the world. Then it is just ignorant, no other word for it, of them to continue speaking Hindi around you and wondering why you are so quiet.

    In my past life I would often be the sole "English-speaking only" in a group of colleagues from another country, where they would all speak the same language as their 1st language. They also would all have spoken very good English as that was the language our work was always done through. Of course I would always make an effort to learn some of their language, but this mostly amounted to swear words that I would be taught by them as a laugh :-)

    Some groups would let you sit there like a lemon staring into space, with the very odd word of English thrown your way. However, most would try to speak as much in English as possible so you could join in in the convo, and I really appreciated this.

    I feel your bf's friends should make more of an effort and try and understand your position. If he can't convince them of this, then just stop going out with them, you don't owe them anything.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Lisn

    I hope I didn't come off as demanding. I was just hoping to get to know his friends as I live with my partner and we're planning a future together and I don't know them at all.

    They all grew up speaking a mixture of Hindi and English they even went to school through English their entire lives. But I do understand the wanting to speak in Hindi. As I have a second langue and definitely prefer my first.

    Hence why I would normally say no to an event like this and I have been saying no for a long time but since they have gone out of their way to invite me and say how I haven't see their new house I was feeling a bit bad about rejecting everything.

    I don't want to demand that the entire event be in English, I was just hoping I could at least get these men to address me without speaking to me through my bf when I'm sitting in front of them. (I don't want that to sound bratty at all).

    My bf has expressed that he really wants me to attend and I was hoping for some advice on feeling a bit less out of place and making a relationship with his friends

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,595 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs

    If they want to get to know you and can speak English, they should speak English to you. If they won't speak to you directly they've no real interest in getting to know you. Which is fine, it is what it is.

    I wouldn't think there's any obligation on them to speak English to each other so you can understand though.

    I've a 2nd language but I couldn't talk freely and maybe crack a joke in that language the way I do in English when just socialising and having fun.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,183 ✭✭✭zg3409

    I find mainland Europeans can speak good English but non Europeans often have "good" English but not good enough to talk openly and fluently. It's often a struggle for them but say Germans often have no issue.

    I think it's a bit rude they don't try more but they also might enjoy talking not English for a change.

    As others have said maybe excuse yourself. I typically won't take my partner when meeting friends unless they are coming to the house and then often we will say hello and partner will go to other room as partner has no interest in the conversation. Unless you have something in common you are all interested in, you can only talk about politics, news and weather. Friends often talk about other things that interest them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭Xterminator

    Hi Op

    its not reasonable to mandate it an english language only event, because one person there is a native english speaker. But that will leave you feeling you cannot participate fully. I would hpe they would do you the courtesy of trying to include you as best they can, but you cannot expect them to converse with each other all night is a language they have varying skills at, when they have a common one.

    The real solution here is for you to make the attempt to learn hindi - if thats the dialect they all share. you wont be fluent any time soon, but can you imagine the difference it will make if you show your making the effort. if you can greet them in hindi, EG 'Conas ata tu' and make basic sentences, then switch to English when out of your depth, instead of being the 'outsider' who needs special consideration.

    ive a child who is currently learning german, for a personal reason. he is not a language student, in fact doesnt like languages really. But he does have a 200+ day streak in duolingo - chats with his continental friends in german to improve language and vocab, and now he has the confidence is looking to get to a certified level of german.

    with an effort of 30 or so mins a day you can make the effort to meet these friends halfway. Or at least show them you are happy to make an effort too. Plus its an investment in yourself, and your relationship.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,967 ✭✭✭HerrKuehn

    If they won't speak English to you, they aren't interested in getting to know you. They know you can't speak Hindi. I would just explain to your boyfriend the reason and not go. Possibly the reason they won't speak English is because they are shy, particularly around females, I don't know. I lived in India for a number of years and the lingua franca in the office was actually English, Hindi is only spoken in the north and Tamil, Kanada etc speakers would not necessarily speak Hindi very well, so they spoke English with each other.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,057 ✭✭✭wildwillow

    Are you female? The only female in the group? They may be already uncomfortable around you and prefer to converse among themselves?

  • Registered Users Posts: 101 ✭✭tfeldi

    My suggestion would be:

    • Go this time as they invited you specifically. Make an effort to start a new conversation (in English) a few times which may prompt them to switch to English. As you are in their new house for the first time, there are plenty of obvious conversation starters.
    • I think it is otherwise OK to skip a few of the get togethers. Make a point of mentioning that you appreciate that having to switch to English is an effort for them and that you appreciate when they do it for your benefit, but that you also understand that it would be easier if they can speak Hindi at other times and don't have to worry about you.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 888 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    Maybe go for a while? Gauge their effort levels and if you feel awkward again just make your excuses and leave. That way you've at least given them a chance to see if they've learned to include you a little more, but are willing to remove yourself if you're not being respected.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,114 ✭✭✭Furze99

    That's why birds of a feather, flock together.

  • Registered Users Posts: 395 ✭✭Happyhouse22

    Hey I have had a similar issue with my wife’s friends , one friend group in particular never speak English when I am there. In fairness to them they do usually try and use English initially but inevitablely switch back

    it used to bother me but now I am prettyused to it, get that they don’t mean anything by it just rarely get achance to speak their native tongue and usually I just avoid going if she is meeting them...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,983 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    If you are planning the future with your partner, so I would definitely learn his native language. You don't need to be fluent in it. It is much easier just to understand what someone is saying in a foreign language than to speak. So after a while you will understand them and answer in English, while they would understand you and answer in their language. After some time you will work out the best way for all involved.

    At the moment you can attend events and have one to one conversation in English with the closest sitting people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,926 ✭✭✭kravmaga

    @OP Lisn,

    Your going out with your boyfriend not his group of friends. Why is your boyfriend bringing you to these events if your still getting to know each other one on one basis.

    I think its a bit selfish of him to expect you to attend these so called events whatever they might be and no -one is making an effort to speak English. No wonder you feel excluded. This is a red flag for me.

    Having lived in London for many many years I observed one thing that communities from the former commonwealth countries living in the UK always gather in numbers , live in the same area and dont really make an effort to assimilate , socially mix into Western culture or value systems.

    They dont have any reason to speak English as they all knock around in the same social circles, i.e. with their own people/ cultural values.

    You are going out with a guy from India/ Asia I presume, so buyer beware if it gets serious and you get engaged / married down the road you will expect to adhere to their way of life and culture, plus religious ceremonies.

    Good luck.

  • Registered Users Posts: 226 ✭✭89897

    Ah here, sting of zenophobia of this one. They live together and are planning a future together, where are you getting they are still getting to know eachother!

    What has your experience of Dublin been? Warning her off him just because hes from another culture isnt what she was looking for help with.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    I think it's ridiculous to learn Hindi just to speak to your bf friends .it makes no sense to expect them all to speak in English just because there's one Irish woman there.theres no rule that says you have to be friends with all your bf friends .some maybe be fluent in English or just have basic English

    Your bf speaks English if you want to learn basic Hindi maybe watch Hindi TV programs on YouTube with English subtitles

    You should know is your bf very religious

    Will you be expected to follow Hindi cultural traditions if you get married eg woman does the housework etc I'm not an expert on Hindi culture

    I,d say the same if your bf was from poland or some other non English speaking country

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,032 ✭✭✭✭Marcusm

    I don’t want to be too direct but they sound like idiots. It sounds as if English is a second-first language to them rather than a true second language. As you do not speak Hindi, it is hard to see their actions as anything other than rude and exclusionary. Culturally, I also find it odd as having spent a couple of decades working with lots of Indian and Sri Lankan people I have never found them clannish or cliquish in this manner. Are you the only woman present at these gatherings, ie is there more misogyny rather than xenophobia.

  • You need to begin learning Hindi.It's not all about you.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,605 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Mod note

    As the weekend of the event the OP was seeking advice on has passed and as the OP hasn't been back in a month, I'll close this one off.

    Thanks everyone for offering advice.


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This discussion has been closed.