Minor cultural barriers

One thing I’ve found can be troublesome when talking to other Europeans, even when their English is fluent, is the differences in body language and interpretation of body language. There’s an Eastern European girl at work with whom I was having a conversation in the bar last Friday. Now, like many people, I have this thing where if I need to remember something during a conversation, I direct my gaze elsewhere so my mind can concentrate on recalling information rather than keeping someone’s gaze – not something I regarded as unusual or abnormal. Yet she leaned her head to try and regain eye contact and smiled condescendingly as if I was doing it out of shyness. This sort of behaviour is somewhat vexing as it suddenly does distract from thinking about the subject at hand and causes a self-consciousness that might not have been there in the first place.

Another trait I don’t think many foreigners have is the acknowledgement thing when people walk past eachother. When I walk past someone and they know me, even on a level of mild acquaintance, I share a smile, nod, raised eyebrows and maybe an “alright?” But I get the feeling some foreigners feel this is a bit forward and creepy perhaps.

 

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~ by CallistoRising on January 25, 2012.

One Response to “Minor cultural barriers”

  1. As far as a smile or a nod or a hello to people you know I would say it depends on the situation. If I live in an apartment with someone I don’t want them saying high to me every time I walk into a room where they are because thats too time consuming. The same goes for any situation where I would be walking past someone many times per day. On the other hand if I see someone on the street who I know sure I think it makes sense to say hello.

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