Sunday, November 12, 2023

Why Do Americans Smile So Much

 Apparently, Americans smile an excessive amount when visiting places.

Here’s how one Reddit user in Finland put it:

When a stranger on the street smiles at you:

a. you assume he is drunk

b. he is insane

c. he’s an American

Before you think that is over the top, consider this: in Russia, smiling at a stranger means you might be touched in the head. Walmart in Germany could not use "greeters" and had to teach the cashiers not to smile - in Germany, they thought the cashiers were flirting. I was interested to read what Olga Khazan would say about it in the Atlantic article.

She has an interesting and plausible idea. Americans and Canadians tend to smile a lot. In Europe, Japan, China, and South Korea, not so much. Her thinking and later investigation point to the idea that multinational immigrant cultures, like ours, smile to communicate. Her example was a Swede from Wisconsin who would find it much easier to smile at an Italian immigrant than learn how to say, Welcome to the store, in Italian.

This would go a long way towards explaining why we smile versus European and Asian states that are unicultureal. 

Anyway, I thought it was interesting.

Extra Points: Can you guess which Zoom meeting is with Americans and which is with Europeans.

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