General Question

cwinesette's avatar

Why is it rude to point?

Asked by cwinesette (14points) September 9th, 2007 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

GD_Kimble's avatar

The gesture itself is a bit agressive and (if you’re standing close) invasive.

alabare's avatar

Wiki lends some insight…not exactly a full answer though:


The typical pointing with the index finger is a gesture used in many cultures. Some cultures use the middle finger (certain regions of India) other cultures also point with the thumb, often when referring to something behind the speaker. There are many other ways to point, for example with the hand, a head nod or an eye gaze. In some Native American cultures, one actually points with the nose, avoiding the disrespect associated with pointing fingers. Some cultures use lip pointing. In Western cultures pointing directly with the index finger at a person is considered rude. A more polite way of pointing to a person would be to direct the hand in their direction, as if holding a plate.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Because mommy said so.

Poser's avatar

I think, as with most issues of etiquette, it’s simply a matter of context. For instance, if I tell my waitress that I want to buy a drink for a woman on the other side of the restaurant, I don’t think it would be considered rude for the waitress to point me out when delivering the drink.

If, however, you are walking though the grocery store with your six-year-old son, and he points at someone with an obvious physical or mental disability, or some embarrassing trait—that, I think, would be considered rude. Especially if it is accompanied by the six-year-old voice (same decibel level as a jet engine) saying, “That woman has a huge butt!” Not that I’m speaking from experience. Actually, I am.

So omfgTALIjustIMDu is right—it’s rude because our parents didn’t want to be embarrassed by the social ineptness of children.

joli's avatar

People don’t like being pointed out in a crowd for the most part, therefore it is considered negative behavior and socially unaccepted in general.

Jill_E's avatar

In this culture, it is not respectful to point. My folks taught me that and it makes sense. It is very rude.

Superion's avatar

I don’t completely agree. To me, the general American standard is best:

- Completely avoid pointing at people when angry/upset. This makes the conversation more accusatory/hostile.

- Pointing at things or objects is almost always acceptable.

- While it may be acceptable to point at someone in general, casual conversation, it’s better to gesture using the entire open hand (sort of like a game show host directing the audience’s attention, if you will).

Hope this helps!

Mili's avatar

I think is ridículos! If you are offended by pointing, you might have a low self-stem. My 5 year old who have read this, just mentioned pointing with the foot is a better way. So, there you go!

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