t on my learning of this presentation and my interaction with my friend Jonathan, I realize I have learned many things about the differences between communication styles in our cultures that I would never have learned if we had not become friends and worked on this presentation together.
One major difference between our cultures is knowing when hand shaking is appropriate. In Australian culture, this is an acceptable way of greeting both males and females. However, in Saudi culture, there are many restrictions in greeting with regards to gender. Lewis noted this in his interactions with people in the Arab world and concluded that being respectful at all times towards male and female Arabs is the best form of communication ( 2001). Personally, I have been in many uncomfortable situations when I was offered a hand by a female friend and I was not completely certain what I was expected to do. In these situations I was afraid to offend my close friends, but was hesitant to do something that is so taboo in my native land. In Australia, hand shaking seems to be appropriate between men and women but in Saudi culture, hand shaking between different genders is prohibited from due to religious belief. My Australian friend advised me that if shaking a females hand makes me uncomfortable, then I should be open and honest about it. I was assured that this would be acceptable and would not be offensive to most Australians.
One of the new things that I learnt is that how to make refusal in a suitable way. I didnt want to be rude with Jonathan but our cultures differ greatly in this respect. In Australian culture, disagreement can be done in a very direct way and can be confrontational. This is not considered rude. However, in Saudi culture, it is best done in an indirect way avoiding any confrontation because the concept of friendship in Arabic culture is different. I