Nonverbal Communication and Social Taboos of Spain

Nonverbal communication can be expressed in several different ways in each culture, in Spain nonverbal communication is used often and should be well understood before traveling there and expecting a in depth conversation with a citizen of Spain. Some ways to express nonverbal communication is by showing personal space, gestures, clothing, body movements, affection, and eye contact.

Affection is a common nonverbal way of communicating in Spain. Affection in shown greatly between family members and generally when greeting a family member you give them hugs or touching cheeks while making kissing noises. Spanish people typically stand closer to each other and touch each other more in conversation. This is much different than affection in the United States because in the U.S. people typically keep their distance while in conversation and generally do not touch each other unless saying good bye.

Spain relies heavily on body language, Spanish citizens will talk over each other when arguing, and will use different hand gestures to express their frustration. They will also distort there face to express their thoughts on the situation. The way you stand and give your message can sometimes have more meaning then the actual words you are speaking. In the United States this is basically the opposite, because most American citizens are straight forward and do not want to be misleading nor confusing.

Some taboo’s you should know before going to Spain can be key to getting along with citizens. A taboo is something you shouldn’t do, this could be a gesture of something as simple as a handshake. Using the “come here” gesture like Americans do when you stick out your index finger and curl it in, have a much different meaning in Spain. In Spain this insinuates sexual gestures, so instead of using one finger use your whole hand.

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