Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Cultural Observations: Eye Contact

I naturally tend to want to acknowledge the presence of anyone around me guy or girl , so if i ever pass someone walking in the mall or drive up next to them at a light, i will usally look over and do a small "whatsup" nod and smile if we make eye contact. People don't like that here in general!
I don't think you are expected to make eye contact with strangers.
When i usally look around in my car when i come to a red light, most people here seem to just look forward.

When i do acknowledge strangers here, people's body language or response usually says:
"What do you want?"
"What are you looking at?" or
"Who do you think you are?" lol

When i was in the US it seemed accepted as more normal or just being cordial, but here i have cars trying to race me, guys staring me down, and girls thinking i am a creep!

I need to work on that.

It's weird when i believe in who i am, and the pure intent behind my actions
but i have to withhold natural responses at times because they will be accepted differently by a different culture.
It is not a matter of being untrue to myself, but sacrificing for the better good...
Helping people here...
and not getting beat up!!!
haha

3 comments:

Julie said...

Hey Brent!

This week, I was walking down a hallway at work (I have been working at this place maybe 2weeks) and a guy that I had never talked to but seen before was walking toward me. ( now, I am all about the eye contact thing with a smile to go with it) ... as we passed he made the comment "Yeah, walking tall ... you sure are walking tall."
I was confused by the comment at first and later realized that it was the natural confidence in who I am in Christ that he was noticing above anything else.

To me eye contact says, "I see you and notice you as a person for who you are." The accompaning smile says "I won't judge you and I hope I can brighten your day." But I guess I can see where both of these could be mis-interpreted in certain situations and in different cultures.

Even if you have to adjust your natural tendencies for eye contact ... Brent, keep walking tall!

Brent said...

i love the fact that you understand Julie... i totally echo all of your thoughts, but you definitely articulated them better than me!

Uncle Jakey said...

Yeah, sorry big guy. I'll try not to beat you up next time!

;-p