Contrast between the American and Colombian way of communicating

By: Hugo Rodriguez

The United States, as Colombia, has a highly verbal culture. I would say that there are not noticeable differences in this matter between these countries, for instance, if in a conversation you don’t speak it might be assumed as arrogance, shyness or rejection. Talking about rejection, people in Colombia don’t want to discuss further or fall in a deep discussion because it makes them mad at each other and it is better to keep a friendship rather than having a friend you don’t like because of the discussion.

Giving and receiving compli-ments is a bit different. I think that in Colombia people don’t give or receive compliments every time on every thing you do. I think that in the Unites States is a little bit exagge-rated, because you can give and receive complements as many times as you give/ receive something for somebody else.

In the orientation from specific to general statements, I would say that it depends on who are you talking to, and on the kind of topic that you are talking about, so it can apply both ways in these countries, from specific to general statements and vice versa.

Interrupting somebody’s speech is very usual in Colombia, due to this, sometimes the topic of a conversation ends in a different one from the original idea.

Talking about anything that bothers you, I would say that Colombian people always have an answer for everything. It doesn’t matter how personal or intimate it is, there is an answer for every question you ask for, it is still more, people are usually giving you some extra information besides the one you asked for.

Conversations go the same way in the U.S. and Colombia, basically, the topics and ways to start “small talks” are alike; you can start talking about the weather and finish talking about politics, economy, or religious affairs.

There are differences when talking about assumptions on people’s marital status or family’s situation. I think that U.S. people are more careful than Colombians assuming something about somebody’s personal issues. In Colombia it might happen the same thing, but many people are imprudent and assume somebody else’s situation, which creates misunderstandings.

What is funny or not is probably one of the most noticeable differences between Americans and Colombians. I would say that it is based on the sense of humor because of the cultural and social behavior, although, Colombians and Americans can laugh together at the same issues

Talking about similarities, I think that Americans and Colombians can talk about several things in common: sports, movies, television, music, shows that are well known in the world because of their popularity.