7 Tips for Cross-Cultural Conversation

We desire to be culturally savvy. Right? I know I do.

I want to interact with folks who are different from me and say the right things, convey my genuine interest and make others feel welcomed and cared for. That's what I want.

Our family has lived in a predominately Central American and Mexican community in South Los Angeles, a tourist district of Buenos Aires, L.A.'s Filipinotown and our current, predominately African-American neighborhood of Atlanta. We've returned countless times to my small-town home in Kentucky and to my husband's hometown, Guatemala City.

All these cultural exchanges have offered me ample opportunity to stick my foot in my mouth.

And I'm so grateful for the friendships that have repeatedly offered me grace... and taught me a few lessons along the way.

At the end of the day, I know I'm not alone. Perhaps, like me, you have a heart for multicultural relationships and you hope to engage these friendships with grace and dignity.

Therefore, I want to share a couple tips I've gleaned on this journey. These suggestions are collected from my personal experiences. I hope they will benefit you as you move through this multicultural world and enjoy a beautiful mosaic of friendships.

This is the introduction to a quick guide I wrote called Why I Don't Ask "Where are you from?" {7 Tips for Cross-Cultural Conversation}. Get it FREE below:


  1. This is great, Sarah! I love the thoughts you shared. I'm pretty sure I've done all of the "bad ones" at least once (ugh), but hopefully I've done the better alternatives also...I'm grateful for the grace extended to me by others, but I'm always eager to learn and grow because I don't want to make others feel uncomfortable. I want to listen and understand the lives of others.
    Admittedly, I'm always especially curious when I meet a Spanish-speaker because I have such a love for Latin America. I'm genuinely eager to learn more about them, and warmly welcome them and let them know, You are *so* very welcome in this country. But I also realize that my own curiosity is not necessarily the most important thing in building a relationship and making someone feel welcomed and comfortable (and not so "other").
    I especially love the relationship-oriented question you shared...that's definitely one I want to remember. It's such a thinking shift for me, and I think it goes to show how "culture" is much more those invisible things--the ways of thinking and decision making--than it is some of the external things that people often associate with that word (food, music, etc).

  2. Thanks so much for reading and responding, Naomi. I'm so glad you found the guide helpful!


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