Nonverbal language can speak volumes. In the article Sounds of Silence by Hall and Hall, nonverbal language is the topic. One thing I found interesting is the emphasis they put on the distance between speakers. When two friends or family members are talking it is not uncommon for them to stand/sit very close together. If two people who have just met were to stand that close together, it would probably be very awkward (in our culture, anyways).
When thinking about talking to my own friends I notice we stand very close together. Sometimes I will even go up to my friend and hug them before I say anything (mainly if I’m feeling crummy). It’s just our way. The more I get to know someone, the closer I let myself interact with them. I’ll play with they’re hair or put my arm around them while we’re sitting on the couch. It’s a gradual process that doesn’t happen right away. I’m completely aware that this takes time.
I’m also completely aware that I cannot do this with recent acquaintances. I may shake their hand and that is probably all the contact we will have. We will stand further apart from each other and talk in a more professional attitude.
I need to research the body language of Tibetans so I don’t seem rude to anyone I meet. I don’t want to shake someone’s hand if it’s seen as too much touching. I also need to research eye contact. I use eye contact a lot, but if they do not, then I don’t want to use it too much.