While training a course I developed called “Working with the World,” in
Cognitive Dissonance is a condition first proposed by the psychologist Leon Festinger, in 1956. I really enjoy using these two words, so I thought, “How can I tie these cool words into a cultural story I have experienced?” Surprise, surprise, another world faux pas emerged. My mind is in a constant strain of cognitive dissonance.
We have associations with a number of handshakes. Firstly, we have the bone crusher handshake. This handshake sends a message that I am dominant and I will over power you. In actuality, people associate the bone crusher with less intelligence and social grace. Sometimes this handshake requires the griped individual receiving the crushing to say, “Uncle,” in order to get released. A more accepted, classic handshake is a firm shake. A warm, firm grip is the most often used handshake in the
Touching can be taboo (major faux pas), as I personally found out in
As I began to share handshakes with the class in
At the time, I had absolutely no idea why she wouldn’t shake my hand. Some people in the
I am totally fascinated and in awe of this tiny morsel of cultural knowledge that stumped the instructor (me). I love to teach diversity classes, as I am always learning from my adult students. I acknowledge, I don’t know and won’t ever know, all there is to know. Cultural awareness and know-how can not be learned in a 4 hour corporate class or a six week semester, it is a life long journey. Thus, my intercultural journey of 40 years has only just begun.
Morrison, Terri; Conaway, Wayne; and Bordon, George. (1994). Kiss, Bow, or Shake hands: How to do Business in 60 Countries.