Body-language and nonverbal communication

What is strange, who is strange and why, people think, somebody is strange?

What is strange, who is strange and why, people think, somebody is strange?

I will tell you a little story about a man who as a child, born in Romania, came to Germany at the age of four. In Romania he was brought up in a very old German speaking and German rooted community. So he was used to the German language and the German culture. In those days this German rooted community was addressed as a strange community in Romania, a community of stranger, though they had the Romanian nationality. To bring it to the point: They were Romanians and not Romanians. They were Germans and they were not Germans.

The German government in those days was interested in the reintegration of such German speaking and rooted communities here in Germany. As I was told, German government paid some thousand German Marks for a grown-up person and ……….half of the price for a child.

The man who told me the story remembers exactly the time when he for the first time came to Germany. It was a cold winter-day in 1973. He does not really remember things which he had experienced in Romania but he remembers the stories about his experience which were told to him later here in Germany.

But he exactly remembers what happened in the first years being here in Germany. He and his family were addressed as strangers though they could speak the German language perfectly but there was just a little accent which showed that they originally were not brought up here in Germany. He also remembers well that they were addressed as strangers and the he felt quite uncomfortable with it. And he remembers that he really could not understand that what happened. Just because he was convinced to be German. Convinced not to be a stranger.

Here in Germany he was a German but did not feel like a German. He was a German but was addressed as a stranger. He summarized his experiences with the word that wherever he was he did not feel at home. Everywhere he felt like a stranger: In Romania and in Germany, in his childhood and youth and still in his actual daily life.

If you would meet him you would of course address him as a German. There is no accent left, there is no attribute, attitude or habit which could give a slight impression of a strange person.

But he does not feel at home. He does not know where his home is, though he is competent to live, to communicate, to relate to people, to earn his money and to live a good life.

And by the way he is a very famous and really well known German.

Let me think about some questions out of his story, questions which I will not answer. Questions which I offer you to find your own answers, answers which will help you to address people without really knowing if they are strangers or not.

  • In how far does language helps you to be integrated? Or in how far you judge someone by his language or his accent?
  • How can you be aware of the emotional echo in yourself being aware of a strange accent, though the person speaks perfectly German (or any other language) when it concerns your situation? And how can we be open enough for the new, strange experience with this person? Without letting him or someone else feel like a stranger.
  • What helps you to feel close and familiar with this (strange) person, though he still remains to be a stranger?
  • What helps you to be open enough in yourself to imagine how it feels like to be in such a situation? And what would you need the other one to do or how to address you, if others address you as a stranger?
  • How could you see in the stranger’s behavior that he does not feel strange anymore but still knows that he came from somewhere else and he insofar still is a stranger?
  • Probably you will find many more questions by yourself. Find answers. But always be open enough for your questions, questions which really are related to you and your specific situation, which of course change, just on a sudden. 😉
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