I’m currently casually chatting with a man who identifies himself as a 40-something US military soldier posted in Libya.
What strikes me first is his language use.
You see I have marked many many student essays and am very familiar with international students writing style. I can pick a student who doesn’t have English as a first or primary language. Interestingly this skill has come in handy for online dating and avoiding scammers.
Of course I am immediately suspicious – which I am anyway because afterall how many soldiers from the US can possibly contact me in a lifetime …I am in Aus by the way. So what alerts me is this: “I see your online, was hoping I get talking to you, hoping we be friends and see how it goes from there..my eyes would be glued to the computer waiting for your reply”.
There are more things wrong with this than just poor literacy or grammar.
My experience communicating with men across the world tells me that it is men from middle eastern or African countries that hope to be friends straight away.
When I ask questions about what he is looking for he delivers lines such as “love…a long lasting relationship” and in a woman he wants “a beautiful heart”. When there are multiple compliments in unnecessary places in the conversation that isn’t really happening I am also dubious. When I am the only one asking questions to seek some sort of an idea of who the person is that is wanting to be my friend and hopefully more I am dubious. And these points don’t just apply to those I know are scammers … This is part of my criteria for anyone I talk to – be interested as well as interesting, show me you are genuinely interested by asking questions or clarifying details. This also tells me you can think and hopefully communicate.
I always give them a chance…just incase I am wrong. I ask a few questions, and may even re-ask in slightly different ways because maybe they misunderstood. Nope, my intuition is usually right. In this case I thought I would be clever in my answer to his only question of “what time is it there”, to which I replied “just past 1900”. Nothing, he doesn’t even notice. In my experience of communicating with real army/military personnel they are usually impressed with my use of the 24 hour system.
So this is a warning…learn by reading what isn’t being said rather than having to experience the tragedy that might unfold without you even realising it.