A Smile

Andre Berglund, Staff Writer

In our world of texts, posts, emails, and tweets, many of us include “emojis” as a way of communicating our feelings. When I investigated this phenomenon, I learned that different cultures often have varieties of emojis that may only be understood by those in that culture- almost an “inside” joke of understanding. For example, some hand gestures, like the curved upside-down index finger that we use to communicate “come here,” is a symbol in some cultures reserved for calling dogs.  Similarly, some societal messages vary from culture to culture. My mom would not ever like a “burp” at the table, but in some cultures, this would be a supreme compliment to the chef or cook.

I am from a Russian culture, and my mother and grandmother reserve smiles for very significant occasions; neither of them likes to engage in small talk. I know that many of my friends and acquaintances may perceive them as unfriendly or unhappy. In our culture, many perceive incessant smiles or small talk as insincere. Both my mom and grandma are kind, loving, and warm. However, their customary countenance may not portray these traits.

Of course, we can’t help our initial reaction to how we perceive others, but we should always reserve judgment until we know more about who we are meeting, and perhaps where they are coming from.