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Indians Like To Shake Their Heads When Talking, What Does It Mean?

The country of India is known for having very diverse cultures, customs and traditions. Because the country is vast and has a large population, Indians living in different regions also usually have different cultures.

But there is one characteristic of Indian society that is known by people in various other countries, namely the Indian habit of shaking his head when talking. When not talking, sometimes Indians shake their heads.

Why do you think Indians shake their heads?


The Meaning of Shaking the Indian Head

For Indians, shaking his head has its own meaning, because the movement is non verbal communication. Non-verbal communication is communication without words, friends. Usually someone shakes his head as a sign of refusing or saying “no”. However, shaking his head for Indian society means “good” or “yes, I understand”.

So if you talk to an Indian and he shakes his head, this usually means they agree or tell us that they understand what we are talking about. The faster the shake of an Indian’s head, the more he understood.

Shaking His Head as a Way of Respect and Thanking

If an Indian shakes his head with slow and gentle movements, and smiles, it means that person wants to respect or be friendly towards us. In India, shaking his head when listening to other people speak is considered more polite than silence or actually not seen listening to the words of the person who is talking.

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Besides “good” and “yes, I understand”, there is also a shake of the head which means thank you. Usually the shake of the head is done slowly and smiling, friends.

Then, what about when Indians say “no”?

When you say “no”, usually an Indian will shake his head slightly from left to right. Examples of Indians who often do this are local transportation drivers such as taxis or bajaj who are known to often reject passengers.

Movement of the Head Apart from Shaking the Head

In addition to shaking his head, Indians also have other head gestures, namely nodding or looking up in one move. Indians sometimes tilt their heads and raise their eyebrows together, this can mean “hello”, friends.

Distinctive Movement of Each Region

Although most Indians do shake their heads with the same meaning, don’t forget that in India there are various languages. Well, because of the different regional languages, head shake in each region in India also has their respective meanings. In southern India, the population has more head shake than Indians in the north.

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