In both American and Arab cultures, it is generally acceptable to stare unswervingly into one another’s eyes when conversing. This is because in both cultures, direct eye contact is a means of displaying sincerity, informality, and equality between those individuals having a conversation. In both cultures, when an individual does not have direct eye contact during a conversation, shifting and avoiding meeting the eyes of the person who is addressing him, this is considered to be bad manners (Kharkhurin 226). This is because it is interpreted as a sign of disinterest in conversation or that the individual is doing so because he is deceptive. While a lack of direct eye contact may be a sign of humility and respect in other cultures, in both American and Arab cultures, this is normally not the case, and in most cases, people from these two cultures often find this behavior to be disturbing (Aprahamian et al 80). However, in Arab culture it is considered to be inappropriate to have direct eye contact when having a conversation with a member of the opposite sex, and such contact is normally kept at a minimum. This is a culture which is concerned with maintaining the social hierarchy as well as some distance between the men and women in the society (Wardeh 192). Such is not the case in American culture because of the ideals of equality between men and women and the fact that men and women in this culture tend to work side by side in their daily lives.
In the American culture, nodding of the head it considered to be a sign of acknowledgement or acceptance but this is not normally the case in Arab culture where nodding can be used to get different meanings. For example, in Arab culture, nodding can be interpreted in two ways; nodding down is a sign of acknowledgement while nodding up is usually interpreted as a sign of disagreement (Staal 732). This is