Have you ever had a bad day and your friend, without even asking you anything about it, offered you chocolate to cheer you up? Well, this is what Koreans call Noonchi.
What is Noonchi?
Noonchi when literally translated means ‘eye-measure’. It is the subtle art of gauging someone’s mood just by looking at their eyes. Noonchi does not have an equivalent word in any other language, but it is close to what we call ‘emotional intelligence’ in English.
Being one of the most important non-verbal cues for communication in Korea, noonchi has a universal significance. Although it is used mostly as a work ethic amongst Koreans, I think noonchi has different meanings around the world.
In India as well as many other cultures, the lack of responding to noonchi is considered insensitive and often criticised.
In workspaces and offices, one is often expected to master the art of noonchi in order to create a good impression in front of the higher authorities. Ignoring the look of your boss is often considered to be rude.
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Noonchi In India
In India, noonchi plays a very important role. An example of it in India can be that ‘one look of disapproval’ by our parents.
In our country where parents don’t talk about everything, especially with their daughters, we have to pick on these cues and act accordingly.
A classic example for it could be when guests come over and your mom asks you to get some snacks for them. What is interesting is that she will never say it but make a slight gesture with her eyes.
How Has Noonchi Helped Me?
Noonchi might not have really come in handy for me professionally, but on a personal level, it has helped me grow as a better person. I have learnt to build better and stronger bonds with the people around me. I might not be a master in it yet, but I learn new skills every day.
It has also helped me convey my emotions when I am at a loss of words. At times when I have a bad day and I don’t understand how to put it across to the people around me, it is very comforting to have that one look of assurance from your friends or siblings that everything will be alright.
Noonchi, if mastered properly, could be a blessing in disguise. At many job interviews, candidates usually mess up because they do not know when to stop.
To avoid this, awaken your noonchi, and start picking up cues. Not only interviews, even at social gatherings this art can be of great help. Having control over your noonchi will make you seem emotionally intelligent too.
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