SUBJECT: Social behavior and personal space of India
DATE: July 16, 2005
In doing research, I found the following information to be of great value when doing business in India.
Personal space in not a concept that the Indians have thoroughly developed in their country (Moxon, 1998). They are very curious people and will start a conversation with you the moment they see you. They will ask many questions including questions of a personal nature (Mathew, 1996). Indians like to touch. Two very important tips for when dealing with touch. #1 never squirm for it is offensive to resist the personal and human touch of friendship. #2 never shake hands, touch or sit close or next to a woman (Mathew, 1996). The most modern women may find it culturally insensitive to greet them any way other than the word “namaste” (Mathew, 1996).
Some social behaviors in India may be interpreted as inappropriate or rude in the United States. For example, spitting, belching, passing gas, picking your nose or even using the bathroom in public is accepted as a norm (Moxon, 1998). When eating, you may hear more noises coming from their mouth than a barn animal. Indian men will be seen kissing and hugging each other but any for of affection in public between a woman and a man is unacceptable (Moxon, 1998).
Here are a few tips in preparing to travel to India.
When entering someone’s home or places to worship, take off your shoes. •
When greeting people, put your hands together like you are praying. •
Feel free to hold hands with another man.
If you want to say “yes” non-verbally, shake your head like you are saying “no”. •
If you want to say “no” non-verbally, squeeze your eyes closed and slightly shake your head. •
If you want someone to come to you, wave your hands like you are telling them to go away. (YAV, 2005). •
Use your right hand for cash transactions.
A way to show respect is to touch elderly people’s feet. •
Hospitality is second...
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