My Mexican classmate told me an embarrassing experience one day.
He asked me, “Do you like the life here?”
I said without thinking, “Yes, the people here are so nice and friendly. ”
After that, he said, “Really, last week, a girl was almost going to sue me.”
I said, “What! What did you do to her?”
He explained that he met that girl several times and he thought they were friends. However, last Friday, when he saw that girl in front of the building, he walked toward her and gave her a hug. Suddenly, that girl became so angry, according to what he explained
“I don’t like the culture here. In Mexico, it would be weird if you saw someone you know without hugging. People here are so cold!” He said these with a little bit hopeless.
This is a meaningful lesson. Especially, for us, being international students in America. It is really important for us to face the culture differences and deal with it carefully. It is understandable that the Mexican boy felt bad about this. However, it is not smart for him to judge all Americans based on one individual. Basically, people who live in the same area share the same culture, however, it doesn’t mean each person has the same personality and uses exactly the same way to express himself.
People can be friendly in their own way, of course, body language included, but there are thousands of other ways to express it as well. For that girl, I guess a smile is enough. It doesn’t matter how people express their own friendly for me, a hug is nice, only smile is acceptance as well, as long as they are sincere.
Eventually, I told my classmate, “Take it easy, she was just feeling uncomfortable about that hug at that time!”