It’s all in the Culture.
The meaning of nonverbal messages may be known only to the person displaying them and may not intend for the behaviors to have any meaning at all. A friend coming off as aloof, cold, and standoffish even though that person is really quite warm and easy to get along with once you get to know him or her could be a direct reflection of one’s culture where a specific mood can be mistaken by others. Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and body positioning are learned behaviors based upon the norms of one’s environment. However, the person who is aloof and standoffish as an overall product of one’s environment may become unapproachable to others was differences in culture allow space to be closer in nonverbal communicative norms.
The nonverbal communication codes likely here are using adaptors to regulate, perhaps to test the environment while using silence as a marker to illustrate spacial requirements within his or her characteristics. These characteristics, although not meant to be standoffish nor aloof, are a mark to others because they become more curious of that person when he or she is hard to read. In my experiences, people rather deal with a person they know is mean rather than to deal with nonverbal cues that leave them unable to trust the response.
Suggestions to change the negative perception are easier said than done. I am one of those people who tend to come off as standoffish and have worked on becoming more open. But the reality is the part of the Eastern-Bloc characteristics of my European heritage that I grew up on. As the textbook claims, it is hard to change thousands of years worth of learned behavior in one life time. The ways I have changed is to be polite to everyone and be more inclusive. I often ask myself how I can help people before they ask for it. In this way I am more out-going where more people will see that I am a compassionate person rather than standoffish.