Whether you’re traveling here at home or abroad, you’ll need to know how to communicate your ability to acquiesce to the needs of others no matter what language they’re speaking. It’s important for a world travelin’ girl to speak the language without imposing too much on those around you.
French: “Ce n’est pas grave.”
Imagine that you’re on a moonlit swim off of the French Riviera and you get stung by a jellyfish. You may feel the urge to cry for help. Don’t! Your screams are highly atonal and will disrupt French people who truly value relaxation. Instead, softly and prettily gurgle, “It’s not a big deal” before gracefully butterfly-stroking your way to a medic.
Japanese: “Sore wa mondaide wa arimasen.”
Say you’re outside the Sony Building on your way to a legendary sushi restaurant for which you made reservations over a year ago. Suddenly, you see an Elvis impersonator barreling down the street toward you. The natural response is to say, “I am not interested in doing a duet with you.” But that’s so pushy! Instead say, “Sore wa mondaide wa arimasen” before singing along to a medley of Elvis songs. Jiro can wait!
Spanish: “Espero que no estoy molestando.”
Picture this: You trip over a rock while hiking the Andes mountains. So much blood. Blood everywhere. You need to find the nearest el hospital, and you need to find it now. But you don’t want to inconvenience anyone else, as other hikers are trying to take in the breathtaking views. In this case, whisper a coquettish, “I hope that I’m not bothering you,” to the man who looks like she’s thinking about helping you, and then pray for a helicopter.
Italian: “Mi può ignorare.”
You’re heading to the Vatican on the metro and you miss your stop. You reverse directions only to find yourself in the same place that you started. Your confusion combined with a lack of sleep makes you start to cry. As hundreds of Italians push past you, turn to the person nearest you and say, “You can ignore me.” Then let your panic take hold!
Body Language: [scrunch eyebrows, smile, shrug, giggle]
Words can be so imposing! The purest way to not bother anyone is to use body language. Follow these steps in quick succession; scrunch up your eyebrows, smile, shrug, giggle, then find a map and locate a place called Dunnottar in Manitoba, a small village of 487 residents. Purchase a cozy fixer-upper there and spend the rest of your days writing letters and tossing them willfully into Lake Winnipeg. The world will be thoroughly unbothered by you for the rest of your life!
Learn these phrases and you’ll be able to speak the language of passivity, no matter where you end up! Bon voyage!