133

These questions make my skin crawl. That is very much a perception issue you have that may just need to get to grips with, as honestly, they are all perfectly normal conversational questions in Britain and Ireland. They aren't seemingly innocent. They are innocent. It doesn't say anything about these people at all other than they are trying to have a ...


40

To start with I like all the points in Rory's answer. The people asking these questions are trying to make conversation with you and there is nothing wrong with what they have asked. Your skin crawling is quite an extreme reaction and it seems to me like a personal issue and I wouldn't know how to help with that. The reason I am writing a new answer is ...


12

First thing - Answering truly won't make you off-putting. There are different types of families and not single one of them is perfect. Giving a true will (or should) stop follow-up's with other questions. IMHO the answer should be strong enough that there is no doubt that you don't like to talk about this topic. Do you go home a lot? - It's not a ...


11

It feels to me like you're really good at greeting people, but you're not getting more involved than that. Sometimes people are lucky, and they're able to just greet people until someone asks them to get more involved with their life. But you apparently aren't that lucky - or haven't been, yet. Or maybe you were that lucky, but dismissed the invitation as ...


11

Without indulging in too much stereotyping, the Irish are typically gregarious and want to talk, and they instinctively understand that most people's favourite topic of conversation is talking about themselves. So if they know nothing about you, they will naturally start asking the sort of personal questions that you don't want to answer. One good way to ...


6

Ed Grimm's answer is really great, i would just like to add that at university there are a lot of casual opportunities to socialize.The easiest way to brake the ice with your fellow students is to make use of these opportunities, like: Go for coffee together between classes Go for beer, a concert, in the evening Eat prepared sandwiches together at lunchtime ...


4

Firstly: It says that they feel a lot of attachment to their 'home' or where they grew up. It says that they experience a lot of comfort and joy from their family of origins. Yes, that's more or less what Irish culture is like. Most Irish folk are proud to be Irish, for better or for worse, and family is a big deal in Ireland. This may be at odds with ...


4

The way I see it, you have 3 main ways to answer their questions based on your relationship with them (how much truth and personal info you want to tell them) and based on your personality (joker/super serious/shy/...): Truthful + comforting Dodging entirely with an obvious made up story Blunt(/unkind) so they don't ask it again, preferably followed up with ...


3

As a native of Ireland, there are probably two important things here: These people have no idea about your family history. A lot (really a lot) of Irish people live outside of Ireland and coming 'home' for big holidays would be extremely common. These people are just trying to find a point of reference with which to start a conversation. In general these ...


2

From the perspective of someone with allergies: I'm usually acutely aware of my sniffling, so it can be mildly embarrassing and annoying when someone mentions it. So I'm glad you're being mindful of not putting them in an awkward position! I do not recommend hinting around, like asking "do you need to blow your nose?" -- this comes across as very ...


2

I can only respond to one part of your question, your unease about being asked about Canada, like when and how often you go there. In your explanation, you wrote this: I don't like the direction that my homeland is going in culturally and politically. I'm in a similar situation regarding my former home, East Germany. (In my case it is the rising anti ...


2

There are a variety of ways to make friends at a university and while the other answers address quite a few of those scenarios, I'll give you a few that happened to occur for me in my experience at a US college that is most likely applicable to any school in the world. At my school, we had 2 to 3 dorm buildings and they all had common areas. A lot of the ...


1

I don't know the culture in which you and your acquaintance live, but I would interpret all these actions precisely the opposite of how you are interpreting them. If someone moved back to my city and wanted to have lunch, I would assume they wanted to be friends, or if we had parted on bad terms, to clear the air between us. I would expect the lunch to be ...


1

First and foremost, it doesn't sound pathetic. Don't beat yourself up about it. Initiating a conversation can be very difficult. (I can totally relate!) But here's some tips I've picked up since beginning college that don't repeat what other users have said. Don't worry about feeling awkward. The way I see it, if you walk out of a conversation feeling ...


1

It says a lot about the person asking them. It says that they feel a lot of attachment to their 'home' or where they grew up. It says that they experience a lot of comfort and joy from their family of origins. Not really. Those are all standard questions to ask immigrants/expats, and I speak from more than a decade's experience. If anything, it says ...


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