Body Language in Middle East
Regional Director of Egypt
Mr. Moustafa Marzouq
As the most of body language gestures and postures are actually inborn -means that no one learn you how to act in dangerous situations and no one tells you how to look afraid or angry or anxious- there’s also absorbed or acquired actions, like salutation displays, saying Hi by body language in far east is totally different in west, also ways of saying Yes and NO.
So that leads to speak about the cultural differences in body language, ways we are different to act and react from a part of the world to another, And to be more specific, speaking about body language in Arab parts and Middle East.
Generally, people in Middle East turn to move more, use hands more, describe every thing by their bodies and arms, such like Italian. If you were English or American and saw an Arabian speaking you may think he is angry, but this is his normal way of speaking. Also they tend to touch and guide you. This is emotional, not offensive. When he shakes your hands it will take longer and he will move your hands up and down several times. This is how to say “I’m glad to see you”. It’s normal for males to kiss in each time they meet, females do it more, a kiss on every cheek. And that never happens between a male and female except they were a father and daughter or brother and sister, or they are from the very well fared opened society.
In some parts, males kiss the shoulders of each others. In other parts they just make noses tough once, and if you are meeting someone who is old sheikh and you respect so much, there is no mind t kiss his hands. People tend normally to bow a little when they hand shake.
Also people in Middle east, have less or display less personal space than any part of the world, they are emotional people, and this is why they do not tend to have large personal spaces, But!, between stranger male and female, personal space is holly and so significant. So if you were European and saw an Arab male speaking so near to you. Do not panic.
Insulting behavior might also be different, as in most parts raising the middle finger is offensive, the opposite happens here, raising all fingers in clear way but the middle finger stays horizontal. Also you can use your fist in front of your chest and forward and backward several times, it means something like sexual insulting. Moreover snoring, snoring here is a way to threat others or to object and insult. The louder you snore the more offensive you are.