Traveler Shares the Head Nod Variations She Noticed During Her Time in India

@livingthejolife 4 Types of Indian Head Nods #india #headnod #indianheadnod #sarojininagar #dehli #amritsar #mumbai ♬ original sound – Living the Jo Life

Before a trip, you can study how to get around and learn about the local customs; however, there are some cultural elements you can only truly discover once you've spent some time in a new place. Travel vloggers Kasper, Kylie, and Ella Johansen of Living the Jo Life recently traveled through India, and while documenting the markets and local dishes like many others do, Ella also documented a unique phenomenon—the many variations in head nods she has seen around the country.

The traveler shared her observations in a clip posted to TikTok. “While traveling around India, I've noticed four variations of the head nod and it is a gesture of agreeance,” she explains, aware that some of these may not look like the person is saying “yes” at all. The vlogger then proceeds to demonstrate them and present some examples.

The first is a little head bob from side to side; the second is even quicker, and closer to a fast wobble. The third one may be the most confusing to western visitors, as the locals quickly shake their head back and forth that can easily be mistaken for disagreement or rejection. Ella even adds a footnote to this one by saying, “I used to get very confused 'cause it almost looks like they're saying ‘no,' but they are actually agreeing with you.” The last one is the most pronounced of them all—as the person lowers and moves their entire neck in a circular motion.

While there are variations from region to region, fellow travelers and local Indians chimed in to try to decipher the nuances of each motion. Commenter @ila6323 wrote, “First one means ‘all good,' second one means ‘nice,' third one is in most cases ‘sympathetic NO,' last one is ‘shy yes.'” Ultimately, many posed that the rest of the body language–particularly facial expressions—are key to unraveling the intentions behind each head nod, For instance, they may actually be saying no, which can be determined by a frown. As for the locals, many explained that it's so ingrained in their culture that they do it without giving it a thought.

Interestingly, in the same way that some people pick up a little accent after spending time in a foreign land, many report picking up on these head nods unconsciously. Even the TikToker admitted to doing it herself.

Living the Jo Life: TikTok | Instagram | YouTube
h/t: [Reddit]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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