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Posts Tagged ‘cultural differences’

I was out to dinner with my daughter and family earlier tonight and while we waiting for a table, we sat in a pretty crowded waiting area.  One couple was sitting across from us and started smiling and playing with my eighteen month old grandson.  We all chatted for a bit after that.  Then they left to eat at the bar and another couple with a four-ish year old boy sat in the vacated seats.  Neither the husband nor the wife ever smiled.  The little boy was grumpy.  I looked over and smiled at the little boy because in previous experiences, that causes them to smile back and changes the tone.  Nothing.  No response at all.  Then I smiled at the mother and she turned her head.  No smile.  No eye contact.  Nothing.  I smiled at the father and got the same results.  After a few minutes, when the father looked my way, I smiled again.  Nothing.  I kept trying but I got nothing.

It reminded me that people from different cultures have different boundaries and different ideas of what is acceptable and how they should behave.  Although I had always thought that a smile was the same in any language, I guess maybe I was wrong.

I did hear the father trying to talk to the little boy and it didn’t sound like English, even though I didn’t hear any actual words.  The tone and the phrasing gave me the feeling they may have been French but I’m not really sure why.  I don’t know where they were from.  I just know that they weren’t from a land of warmth and smiles or friendship and acceptance.

I don’t know.  I don’t think it will keep me from smiling at people in the future because I’m just that sort of a person, but it might keep me from smiling a second time if the first smile is not returned or acknowledged.

Sending a big smile out there to each of you!

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