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  • DejaVu
  • Super Waygook

    • 433

    • April 17, 2011, 11:31:29 am
Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« on: April 03, 2012, 10:34:09 am »
One cultural difference that I've noticed is seemingly minute but, in reality, has a huge impact.


In schools we often walk down long hallways.  Many people pass us from the other direction.

In America, I like to avoid long, awkward walk towards someone that I have been staring down.  If I see an acquaintance or a co-worker that I say nothing to other than everyday greetings, I will avoid eye contact until they're closer before I give my greetings.

On the other hand, Koreans seem to make eye contact and wave or bow from a ridiculous distance away.  It's nice and intimate, but when the majority of the people don't speak English, it means we just stare at each other for a good 10 seconds. 

This all seems ridiculous to even think about but, as I just replied in another thread, people seem to get offended when I avoid eye contact.  I wait until they're closer and then look at them to give my greeting but by that point, they feel insulted and have looked away.

Has anyone else noticed this?



  • Bulgogi
  • Veteran

    • 92

    • December 07, 2011, 01:45:04 pm
Re: Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 11:35:06 am »
One cultural difference that I've noticed is seemingly minute but, in reality, has a huge impact.


In schools we often walk down long hallways.  Many people pass us from the other direction.

In America, I like to avoid long, awkward walk towards someone that I have been staring down.  If I see an acquaintance or a co-worker that I say nothing to other than everyday greetings, I will avoid eye contact until they're closer before I give my greetings.

On the other hand, Koreans seem to make eye contact and wave or bow from a ridiculous distance away.  It's nice and intimate, but when the majority of the people don't speak English, it means we just stare at each other for a good 10 seconds. 

This all seems ridiculous to even think about but, as I just replied in another thread, people seem to get offended when I avoid eye contact.  I wait until they're closer and then look at them to give my greeting but by that point, they feel insulted and have looked away.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Ah....there's your problem.

One piece of advice...bow to them even when they're not making eye contact with you.
I do it every morning to the security Adjosshis, adminstration workers or my principal who's usually too busy tending to the school garden... ;)


  • TheWB18
  • Expert Waygook

    • 634

    • October 27, 2011, 07:51:30 am
    • South Korea
Re: Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 12:19:53 pm »
I always wait.  My school has dim hallways and I have terrible eyesight.  I don't want to risk giving one of my 5th graders a deep bow...or my principal a wave.  So until I can clearly see who it is, I just muddle along staring at the floor or the walls or those expensive signs with all the school pictures.


Re: Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2012, 12:36:19 pm »
I honestly think about this all the time. It is pretty awkward. Sometimes I play chicken and let them do it first... But most of the time I give a little wave when I see them, and actually nod/say hello at what I think is an appropriate distance.


  • Willow
  • Adventurer

    • 48

    • April 20, 2011, 11:36:37 pm
Re: Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 12:37:43 pm »
This is so funny because this always happens to me!

 I am always thinking when walking along the corridor with one person coming towards me...

too soon to bow?
Should I go now?
should I wait until I'm closer?!

Ahhh dilemmas dilemmas!


  • Jrong
  • The Legend

    • 2381

    • April 28, 2011, 12:52:32 pm
    more
Re: Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2012, 12:41:26 pm »
Wow, good observation. I think about this a lot too.
"When in doubt...ask Troglodyte" ~0mnslnd


  • Kev20
  • Veteran

    • 173

    • August 24, 2011, 08:59:11 pm
    • Gumi-si
Re: Do you greet from afar or wait it out?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 02:50:29 pm »
What throws me is when I've prepared for the bow/anyong-haseyo and suddenly I get a wave/Hi from an unexpected source. As I've already committed to the bow, I follow it with 'Hi' and give a wave, and a smile for good measure. - I always wait and try to do greetings either simultaneously or just after they greet me. I should really stop doing that.