The hand gestures that you’re making may have another meaning somewhere else in the world. This body language could be a culture shock in other countries. Some things may be normal for you, like sticking up your thumb to express something good, but are a rude sexual signal in some Islamic countries, Sardinia and Greece. The body speaks language, but what it says depends on the country you’re in. We have selected a few gestures to show you some surprising body language differences.
We all know the nodding head. Nodding your head vertically usually means yes or an approval. Nodding your head horizontally usually means the opposite; no. But Bulgarians and Greek are know for nodding their heads the other ways around. When they nod their heads up and down it means no, instead of yes.
In the West it’s normal to keep good eye contact when you’re talking to a person. Strong eye contact is most common in Spain, Greece and Arab countries. But that’s different in Finland and Japan; they only seek eye contact in the beginning of a conversation. After that, they got embarrassed if someone stares at them.
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The waving gesture that is used in America as “goodbye”, can be interpreted as the signal for “no” in some parts of Europe and Latin America. Americans can interpret the Italian goodbye wave as “come here”. And that body language can be seen as an insult in the most Asian countries.
In North America and some European countries it’s common to sit cross-legged. In Asia and the Middle East it’s not! When you show the sole of your shoe to someone else, it means disrespect.
Try to read some about a culture’s body language before you’re visiting their country. Of course you don’t want to insult their culture, but it’s always better to know on front what you can en what you cannot.