Should You Use Spanish or English When Dealing with Latinas?

There’s a belief, perpetrated by many “language hacking” bloggers, that the fastest way to become fluent in a second language is to stop using English.

They think that by removing English from your life, you’ll immerse yourself deeper in the local language. These polyglots tell you to avoid other expats and stop watching any TV or YouTube videos in English. 

The advice is well-intentioned – too many English speakers don’t make an effort to learn the local language and use their expat friends as a crutch because they don’t want to make mistakes and feel uncomfortable speaking with native speakers. 

English out – Spanish in

You should practice the local language as much as possible and make as many mistakes as you can. But it’s a bit too simplistic to think that removing English from your head will create a vacuum you can fill with a new language. 

I’m asking you to take a more pragmatic approach. The reality is that using English (instead of Spanish, Russian, Italian, whatever) in certain situations can be a very smart move. 

Flipping the Script

When I lived and worked Mexico, during my first few months, my boss would speak to me in English and our interactions were very pleasant. Later on, as my views and the company’s views diverged she would give me a regular dressing down in Spanish.

Here’s another example: I was speaking to a friend of mine who taught English in Prague. One of his students told him why he liked learning English. He said: “If I’m in Germany on business and I use German – they have the power. When I use English – I have the power.”

My point is – knowing when to use English with a Latina and when to use Spanish is the key to holding the power.

“You’re not as dumb as you look”

I play the lost, innocent tourist all the time and Latin girls think they have me wrapped around their little finger. But little do they know that underneath is a cynical, wily fox who knows the true nature of women.

As they say in negotiation, “stupid is smart and smart is stupid”.

Speaking of negotiating, can you negotiate as well in Spanish as you can in English? Unless you’re bilingual, no way. Dealing with your landlord? Try to do it in English.

If I were doing business in Latin America, I would try to do most of the negotiation in Spanish – and I have a near-native level of Spanish. But I’ll get a bum deal and they’ll run rings around me if everything is in Spanish. 

Power Struggles

If you don’t understand a lick of Spanish but refuse to use English your Latina will hold the power in the relationship. You don’t understand what is going on, what people are saying and you can’t even order your meal. You’re like a toddler again, needing a mother to guide you through this confusing and dangerous world.

If you insist on only using Spanish, she will have the power because she is a native speaker and will lead the conversation. Do you think you’ll be able to argue with a Latina in Spanish? No sir.

But if you communicate mostly in English then when it comes time to argue, you’ll dominate.

How Big Is Your Ego?

The problem is that people let their ego get in the way of what is smart. They want to “show off” how much Spanish or Japanese they know at every opportunity.

The secret is knowing lots of Spanish but keeping it under wraps. It’s a secret weapon that you only bring out at random times. Don’t go around showing off how much Spanish you know.

Dealing with Feisty Latinas

Encourage her to use English. When she makes a mistake you can bring he down a peg or two.

Remember, you must know Spanish well. If you lean on her to do everything, she holds too much power in the relationship.

Don’t make her your sole source of Spanish practice. Again that gives her too much power. Have other Latin friends that you practice your Spanish with.

English Language Groupies

Keep the balance of power in your relationships 50/50 by paying attention to what language you are using. 

Don’t let her dominate you in Spanish, but don’t let a Latina use you for English lessons and not give you any pussy.

A friend of mine once went on a date with a girl in Colombia who said she used Tinder to practice her English. She would arrange dates with gringos so she could have a couple of hours of free English practice and some free drinks.

If it’s obvious the girl is using you for free English practice – kick her to the curb.

Have you lost an argument in Spanish? Have you noticed anybody using your for English lessons? If you have, let us know in the comments.

Un abrazo

– El Conquistador