NonverbalCommunication Application Essay 2

Nonverbalbehaviors are essential in day to day interactions in fact, acrossall cultures, they make up over two-thirds of the worldcommunication. They compliment the message put across vocally by theuse of related body signals, which range from physical features,gestures, signals to the mediation of individual space (Richmond,McCroskey,and Hickson, 2011). Every culture has different norms in relation to nonverbalbehaviors. People have certain expectations on how one is supposed tobehave on a certain occasion to ethically convey intended message. When such cultural rules are broken, the message is interpretedwrongly or the reaction from those around will be negative. In thecultural context, nonverbal behaviors have been attributed tocreating strong first impressions in common settings for instance,attraction is created within a short time of contact. In this paper,I am going to focus on eye contact, which is common nonverbalbehavior in every culture. My study was based in a multiculturalcontext so as to find a varied response from the individuals inrelation to their cultural background perception.


Eyecontact has been primarily used to indicate engagement, a certainform of interest, attention, and sought of issue being involved.Literally, eye contact is when two individuals gaze at each other`seyes at the same time. It may be in form of winking or moving theeyebrows. Since this behavior is in most cases used to bring outinterest, it is also easy to notice disinterest. Dilation of pupilshas been used as a sign of an interested individual while theopposite may be brought out by little or no eye contact in severalsocial setups. The extent of the eye contact forms the basis of thisbehavior. Lengthy established eye contacts have been proven to be thesource of intimacy between people (Richmond, 2011). Most culturalnorms call for the incorporation of eye contact in conversations asone talks and listens. The blinking rate, duration of a gaze, therate of recurrence of the glances, the fixation patterns, and how aperson dilates his pupil are significant cues in this aspect ofnonverbal behavior.

Eyecontact has also been used to detect deceit among individualsdishonest and deceptive people can be detected by blinking their eyesa little bit more than normal. In such cases, eyes may be used toindicate whether the person is telling the truth or lying. Anotherindicator in the same line is eye aversion in this case, the persontends to avoid direct eye contact. However, it is necessary for oneto understand a societies’ culture before jumping into conclusionusing these observations. Generally, all cultures call for theprovision of certain levels of eye contact that will make otherscomfortable. It is also clear to note that the term ‘comfortable’is relative since what is comfortable in one culture may not becomfortable with the other.

Myfirst violation of this behavior was when I encountered Job (anAmerican). He was a Christian Union patron and was on an outreachprogram. After letting him in, in our house, he started explaining tome on the importance of salvation and why it was necessary for me toreceive salvation. For the whole of the 20 minutes he was around, Idid not keep any direct eye contact with him. I could read hisemotions from his facial expression he looked irritated. Further, Irealized that he detected my lack of interest in what he was sayingby my inability to maintain eye contact with him. In fact, theexpression was what I expected since I was not interested in whateverhe was saying. My second encounter was with my American neighbor. Inthis case, I tried to persuade him to lend me 30 dollars for anacademic trip. He interrogated me while looking directly at me.Though I was lying, I looked directly into his eyes and he could notread any form of deception hence, he gave me the cash. Americansnorms call for direct eye contact when communicating a shift of eyecontact is regarded as the lack of interest or deception.

Ialso had a meeting with an Asian friend whom I decided to lookdirectly into his eyes as he talked to me on the pavement. Since hewas older than me, I could detect irritation in his face. Asian normsassociate low eye contact with respect and humility and my behaviordepicted the absence of the two virtues. This was the same case whenI interacted with a Nigerian in school who was older than me. He wasnot comfortable when I kept a direct eye contact to him, it was asign of rudeness.

Arecent interaction was with a Hispanic friend whom we were arguingabout a certain topic. Though I did not agree with him I did not lookdirectly in his eyes. I could see how he was surprised on how I couldnot assert my disagreement by a direct eye contact as their culturalnorms stipulate.


Inall the instances I was very uncomfortable due to the irritation Icaused by breaking the norms of the eye contact among differentindividuals. The essence of these norms in every culture is to ensurethat the message conveyed by the non-verbal behavior can be easilyinterpreted by others within the same culture.


Richmond,V.P., McCroskey,J.C and Hickson, M.L. (2011).NonverbalBehavior in Interpersonal Relations (7th Edition).Pearson.