Subject: Reading Non-verbals was Rude locals
Hello Pals:

This is a fascinating thread and isn't communication fascinating. I was reading recently about a study that compared facial expressions as indications of emotions in widely diverse cultural settings. Apparently there ARE facial expressions that globally express anger, fear, surprise, sadness and happiness. I guess the trick is 'reading' meaning when there is no obvious affect.

On good days, I try to believe that everyone who doesn't look delighted to see me, at home or abroad, has an unfortunate genetic predisposition to look severe, blank or grumpy. (I may have a similar tendency.) Also on good days I experiment. Since communication IS, after all a two way street, I send out an 'I'm happy to see you' message by way of a smile. The responses are most often positive. I have noticed however and perhaps you have too, that response time increases as people get a bit older. I'm not as quick as I used to be to draw conclusions. On bad days ... it's a different story.

Beyond facial expressions there are other obviously culturally-specific non-verbals. Is the North American 'thumbs up' always well received? Other examples?

Lesley Toronto, Canada