by Grace aka costofcollege
No Touching: The Countries That Dislike Physical Contact the Most
A study suggests you should hug a Finn, but not a Brit.
Do you greet a stranger by kissing them on the cheek or giving them a firm handshake? In the largest study ever quantifying where people were comfortable being touched and by whom, 1,300 men and women were asked the same question. The results suggest that when greeting most people, you’re better off with a handshake.
The participants, from Finland, France, Italy, Russia, and the U.K., detailed where strangers, family members, friends, and romantic partners were allowed to touch them. Researchers from the University of Oxford and Finland’s Aalto University then combined the results to create a so-called “heat map.”
It is not surprising that the study found “some nationalities were less enthusiastic about touching than others”.
…True to their stereotype, British participants were right at the bottom on the touchability index. And to the researchers’ surprise, Italians were less comfortable with being touched than Russians.
Some families are lavish in expressing affection with hugs and kisses. Lately I’ve noticed that it’s still not uncommon to see Latin Americans and some Europeans of both genders walking arm in arm down the street. It seems some stereotypes still hold.
These cultural norms can get tricky in dealing with business colleagues from different countries. Intermarriage between different cultures is another area that can get complicated for families.
What’s your style, touchy-feely, stand-offish, or in between? Have you had to adjust your style for family or business? Any awkward situations?
What other cultural differences have you had to navigate in your personal or professional life?