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Bilingual news and shares about the brain, languages and coaching

Newsletter 8 - Social Pain

the L in NeuroLanguage Coaching®

"I don't want my new English colleagues to think I'm not intelligent”

"Je ne veux pas que mes nouveaux collègues anglais pensent que je ne suis pas intelligente”

― A wondeful person I work with

So you're in a meeting and you have something to say. The meeting is in English, you understand everything and know exactly what's going on. But you're just too

  • shy

  • not confident enough

  • new at this

  • afraid of saying the wrong thing

  • afraid of using a wrong word

  • convinced people will think you're not smart

  • not sure you can correctly cut in (interrupt)

  • not sure about the cultural etiquette

Do any of the above reflect your thoughts?

If yes, then you know exactly what social pain is -as it applies to speaking a foreign language outside your comfort zone.

Here's another example:

So you're with a group of friends, you're in a restaurant in Paris and you're eating (delicious) food. You feel good, wine might be involved making you feel even more confident, you're talking to your friends in French (not your native language). You can't get all the jokes and some slang words are hard to catch. But overall you're part of the conversation and having a grand time.

You call up the waiter and ask for some water ("une carafe d'eau s'il vous plaît"). And the waiter looks at you, uncertainty in his eyes. So you try to explain, and doubt is creeping in your mind. You try again, feel flustered, ask your friend to ask for you and feel miserable.

That's a language related situation that can definitely trigger social pain (if you want to know more about social pain and how it is above all pain, read my previous newsletter about social pain and your brain).


Well here's a repeat of last week

  • You can take Tylenol (also known as paracetamol in Europe), it could help with the pain (no jock)

  • Acknowledge your pain as exactly what it is : pain.

And now, think about what you could do to not feel that way:

  • Work with a Neurolanguage coach - I'm serious, a coach can really help with social pain whatever it's linked to.

  • Talk about how you felt with a close friend who speaks the language. Tell them about the waiter not understanding you and how it made you feel.

  • Talk about the meetings where you never speak up. Name your feelings. Naming your feelings lessens the pain (more on that later)

If you feel you know enough about a language and just want to stop feeling so self conscious, and don't want to work with a teacher, trainer, coach…find someone to talk with. Have lunch once a week with a colleague who speaks the language. Start speaking with people that you feel comfortable with. Ease into speaking during a meeting.

Don't make things a bigger deal than they are (easier said than done) but as a language professional with many years experience I can tell you 1 thing for sure : NOBODY THINKS YOU'RE STUPID (except stupid people!)

And that waiter?

  • there was a lot of noise

  • he was super focused, and was not expecting an accent.

  • he had a confused look in his eyes because he didn't even hear you.

  • he was tired.

  • he was having a bad night

  • Maybe…who knows? It's his problem, not yours. Repeat slowly. Mimic. Smile. Laugh. No big deal.

If you need help with any of this contact me. We can have a quick 30 minute chat about what you can do.

I'd love to know more! Click here to book a discovery call

If you're curious about social pain you should click here

And if you want to go back on my other newsletters that cover all kinds of brain related, language related, coaching related fascinating subjects, I suggest you go to my newsletter webpage

If you know anyone who'd be interested in signing up for my newsletter, don't hesitate to forward this newsletter to them :-)

Neurolanguage Coaching® is an amazing method that will help you learn a language more efficiently than you've ever experienced before. It brings together findings about how the brain learns bests and integrates these into a coaching process that will put you in charge of YOUR learning journey. As a Coach, I'm  the GPS to your driving. If you want to try it but are not ready to commit, I have a 2H Discovery Offer that might be just what you're looking for. Or we can just have a casual chat about it, just reply to this email.

Good to know

The Neurolanguage Coaching® certification is accredited by the ICF

 La certification est accreditée par la Fédération Internationale de Coaching

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