By Bill Crowley

As a cross-cultural ambassador living and traveling around the globe, I intimately understood the importance of diplomacy in order to establish meaningful and effective relationships between people on earth.  Eventually, I also realized that I have been employing my diplomatic skills domestically every day; I just called it etiquette instead of diplomacy.

Both etiquette and diplomacy are based on respect, empathy and kindness.

Taking a step back further to see the forest through the trees, I now see that etiquette / diplomacy applies to contact with our extraterrestrial (E.T.) neighbors, too; thus, I call it ETiquette™.

ETiquette follows the same rules that Austrian attorney and father of space law, Ernst Fasan, speaks of regarding “Metalaw.”  Metalaw states there is a prohibition against harming races living in outer space and that they, too, have the right to life and liberty.  Treat others as you’d like to be treated.

On earth, a polite gesture or phrase in one culture may be considered rude in another culture, regardless of the good intentions of the person making the greeting.  Therefore, there is no single form of appropriate etiquette that is universal when dealing with people in multi-cultural situations.

What one can do to successfully navigate cross-cultural first-time meetings is to study the culture (race, creed, etc.) before a first meeting.

Unfortunately, with regards to first-time E.T. encounters, there are no guidebooks available for studying how to make good first impressions, especially with countless different species in space.  (Note: we are remedying this now, with this ETiquette section, and more tools and intel to follow!)

In the meantime, one can, in an impromptu E.T. encounter, do the following:

  1. Be still, arms hanging by one’s side with calm energy, mitigating any fear or over enthusiasm one may have.  Breathe deeply, focus on your heart center and send LOVE to the being.
  2. Observe the E.T. with soft focus (staring intensely can evoke defensive reactions) and relaxed facial features. You may be startled by their physical appearance or surprised by the unexpected meeting.
  3. Unlike human interactions, the E.T. will most likely communicate with you telepathically. If you are not familiar with this communication style, you will begin to hear words in your head that are not your own thoughts, see pictures of things, or receive full-blown conversations.  You simply reply back in the same manner, by sending your thoughts and messages to them silently.
  4. With discerning judgment, follow their lead by gently and slowly imitating their actions or gestures.

I have found the above methods (minus the telepathy) to be extremely successful in dealing with human cross-cultural encounters where neither party could communicate by common language and we were both from very different cultures.  Often times, it becomes very playful and fun with both sides laughing, hence the ancient Japanese proverb: 笑いには国境はない- “Laughter Knows No Borders”.  I am confident that our E.T. friends feel the same.  I believe Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, said that when you look at earth from space there are no borders.