Communication differences between generations, genders, ethnicity, and cultures have always been a challenge. The problem with communication is that we interpret messages based on our personal baggage, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, and values. Our perspectives are shaped and formed by these characteristics and as a result, our interpretation can differ.
Our assumptions about what is happening are based on personal experiences or familiar cultural patterns that influence our actions.
For example, if we believe that someone who doesn't look at us in the eyes is unfriendly or untruthful, our response to the individual will reflect that belief.
In western cultures eye contact is a basic essential to a social interaction which shows a person’s interest and engagement with your conversation. It is often seen as a sign of confidence and sincerity.
But for many cultures around the world eye contact is not considered an essential to social interaction. At the contrary it is often considered inappropriate since deemed aggressive, confrontational or disrespectful.
In a society where the meanings of various behaviors and practices are as diverse as the people demonstrating them, incorrect assumptions easily lead to miscommunication.