Body Language Differences Across the World

By: Maria Climent Huguet
Maria Climent is a 26-year-old Catalan lady. After studying translation, she decided her life was odd enough to became a humor scriptwriter and by default, a blogger. This is how she’s now a mother of no one and a better person. She also likes to cook!

Last night I was talking to my flatmate and realized that, although she is a very open and expressive person, when she talks about personal things, like her aspirations in life, or self-confidence she adopted a gesture of defence; arms and legs crossed, what can be understood as feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed when talking about herself.

And the thing is that body language says a lot about ourselves and most of the time we do not even realize it. So, it would be quite useful to know both, what messages are we sending to others and what messages others sending to us, especially while travelling.

–     Eye contact, which is considered positive in Western cultures, is regarded as rude or sassy in other cultures like traditional regions of Japanese, Chinese and some areas in the Caribbean, especially when done from youngsters to elderly, and women to men.

While the “thumbs-up” gesture means that something is OK, or that we like it in Western culture, it is rude in Arab countries where it is rude to use the left hand to eat as well.

–     The act of touching one another when talking is very uncommon in Japan, where people do not usually touch in public in the same way Latin or Mediterranean cultures do.

And now, let’s just take a look at our everyday life:

Imagine you have one of the apartments in Rome for a week and every time you meet the guy who is staying in the apartment next door in the lift, he smiles timidly, cannot keep eye contact, talks quickly and low, his hands are sweating, girl, he wants you! Bow chica wo wow!

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Watch out when you are talking to someone who is not looking at you all, I mean, if you see that person is keeps looking at the door of that bar, or nods all the time with the look lost and from time to time they say ”yeah”, they’re probably not very interested in your story. It’s surprising when you do this to others, how they don’t notice you want OUT of this conversation.
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And a useful tip: we can kind of fake our body gesture to seduce other people, to make them feel better. How? Just look them at the eyes; maybe touch their arm, to make them feel confident, a kind smile, and paused voice and you’ll have them at your feet. But be sharp! There is nothing sadder than a bad actor.

If you feel like starting to put it into practice maybe it’s a good idea to rent one of the Rome apartments and see who’s your new neighbour.

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Written by Ross French