Sunday, October 31, 2010

You’re In My Space

Whereas Asians stand farther away during conversations than Americans are used to, many Mediterranean people and Latinos stand so close that Americans believe that their personal space is being violated. Inexperienced Americans usually react by taking a step back. This strategy doesn’t work because the other person will simply take a step forward. If you keep backing up, you may find yourself backed into a corner. On the other hand, if an Asian steps back during a conversation with you, control your urge to pursue him. When with Asians, remember that touching can be a touchy subject. For example, you don’t put your arm about the shoulders of a Japanese or take hold of his arm during a conversation. Don’t be offended if Asian shopkeepers avoid contact by placing your change on the counter instead of in your hand. They are just being polite.

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