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Business and Social Etiquette - How to Make Eye Contact - Part 2

Eye Contact Social Rules in Asia, Africa and Latin America


Eye Contact in Most Asian, African and Latin American Cultures

Extended eye contact can be taken as an affront or a challenge of authority.

Generally, only sporadic or brief eye contact is considered acceptable. This is particularly true in Asian cultures where people are from different professions or social levels. For example, in China and Japan, children show respect to elders by not making intense eye contact; employees would not make eye contact with employers; students would not force eye contact with teachers, etc.

These cultures do not view avoiding looking someone in the eyes as rude or disinterested, or even as necessarily being submissive. Instead, avoiding eye contact is usually interpreted as being simply being polite or reverent.

The rule of thumb in Asia, Africa, and Latin American cultures is to be careful about the eye contact you make with anyone that could be seen as a social (or workplace) superior. Staring at a superior will be seen as a challenge or as a sign of disrespect.

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