Violations of Nonverbal Rules
The elements of nonverbal communication are proxemics, kinesics, vocalics, chronemics and haptics. Among them, proxemics and haptics are the two types of rules and social norms I see violations, as different cultures have different attitudes towards space and touch in communication. In the following essay, I will talk about my view on violations of nonverbal rules through my own experiences, and what type of violation is excusable. Then I will outline the factors which influence the valencing of a nonverbal rule violation. “Nonverbal communication is expressed and perceived through all senses: hearing, touch, smell, sight, taste. It may also include body temperature, body movement, time and space.” (David Hesselgrave, 1976, p.12).Nonverbal elements form a major part of any communication interchange. Some people would say it is the most important part. Proxemic, as one of the nonverbal elements, is the study of space and distance in communication. And haptics is the study of the specific nonverbal behavior involving touch (Steve Duck& David T. McMahan, 2010).These two kinds of nonverbal communication bring me to a few problems in intercultural communication. Americans tend to maintain a larger personal space than other countries. If someone gets too close to them or touches them, they can feel threatened and very uncomfortable. I figured this out after over and over, failing communication experiences with my American friends. I must have made lots of American friends feel uncomfortable when I first arrived in America. However, some of my American friends do not care about the “arm’s length”. They are free to embrace me and stand close to me when we are talking. It is confusing to determine the distance sometimes. So in order to avoid such cases, I choose to stand quietly and let my counterpart to determine the size of the space. As it is defined in the text book, the actual meaning of space and distance is framed...
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