Although it may seem as though we’re one, big, happy global family, we’re divided in a number of ways. Cultural differences express themselves in the day-to-day etiquette of many important aspects of life: how we eat, how we communicate with each other and how we perceive life. I’ve written on this blog about mobile phone etiquette around the world, particularly how it differs from country to country. Another important area to observe is communication, both verbal and non-verbal. This handy infographic by travel company Cheap Flights describes the major differences in hand gestures around the world and, if you’re from either the US or the UK, you’ll discover surprising facts about the different meanings some gestures have in different countries. It’s important to observe these differences so that when you travel to any of the countries shown in the infographic you do not land yourself in hot water.
- If you’re in Iran, please don’t give anyone the thumbs up sign: it could result in your being sent home on the next plane out.
- In Brazil, the ‘okay’ sign does not, I repeat does not, mean ‘okay.’
- If you’re attending a sporting match in Vietnam and you cross your fingers to show how you’re rooting for your team, don’t be surprised if you’re spat at.
Are there any other gestures you know that have very different meanings depending on what country you are in? Share them with us in the comments box below…