Thursday, April 14, 2005

the business of touch

This Flash-heavy site contrasts the verbal and physical differences in greeting another person in 15 different countries. Do I offer to shake hands, or wait until they offer? Is eye-contact good or bad? Personal space: 2 feet or 2 inches?

This was one of the first things that hit me when I travelled... in India (well, northern India in particular), there doesn't appear to be a concept of personal space, and if you offer someone your hand they're likely to keep it throughout the conversation.

I think the typical American greeting should be changed to 'stand about 4 feet away and eye the other person suspiciously. If they do anything weird, tell the person you are talking to on your cellphone that you will call them back, and notify the Department of Homeland Security immediately.'