The communication style that occurs between individuals in Indonesia is generally straightforward. People don’t like to make indirect statements in communicating.
This sometimes offends people. To overcome this, one must have a ‘bigger heart’ by not easily breaking to understand ‘right’ meaning other people’s intentions. Indonesia is a country famous for its diversity of cultures, food, places, and good-hearted attitude.
That is why people are generally friendly and social. It’s just that they’re ‘plain’ and less sensitive. This is certainly far from the western lifestyle. If we look from anywhere, they are more sensitive and would rather use an indirect statement in communicating. It makes them feel more comfortable.
In Indonesia, if someone praises you by saying “hey, you look pretty today” or maybe “oh man, at this young age you’ve been successful and rich”, then the feedback you have to say “oh, I am normal, thank you”. Yes, that’s the correct statement. Because it means you are polite and respectful to others. Let’s see if you say “yes I am, thank you by the way”, or a similar statement, you may be judged with pride or self-praise.
Conversely, a smile is the best way to do. Everyone likes to smile to show that they are happy to associate with others. Smiles are also considered a symbol of hospitality. People will easily please you as you smile at them first. Is it very easy, right? You can smile at everyone, friends, co-workers, bosses, and even strangers.
Unfortunately, the smile will have a different meaning in some country. Like in some Eastern Europe, you can still smile but not for everyone. You have to smile only to whom you know him/her well. Otherwise, it may be considered crazy or suspicious.
So, you have to organize your actions to your place. Each country has a different culture and may have the opposite meaning too. However, differences in each country are unique and attractive.
Along with this direct-communication style, people usually use their body language to express their words. For example, during a conversation people often use gestures or ‘thumbs up’ symbols that are ‘great’ or okay.
The other side, if they do ‘shake-head’ means ‘no’ or disagree. In Indonesia, communication with physical-contact is considered very rough. As an example, if you put your hands on the shoulders of others or hug them, this causes people to get angry with you right away.
They will think you have no manners unless you already know them well. Honestly, Indonesian still hold the eastern culture as their life guide.
So, if you are planning to visit Indonesia, enjoy your vacation there. My best advice, if you first meet people, welcome them. Show your politeness so they will be happy with you. And remember, do not get too ‘physical-contact’ in your first interaction.