Imagine you’re used to leaving only a short pause after someone else has finished speaking before you start; you’re speaking to someone who normally waits longer before speaking, and neither of you are aware of this difference is speaking styles. In such a situation, you will probably dominate the conversation, while the other person will have great trouble getting a word in edgeways. You might conclude that they have nothing much to say, while they might think you’re very pushy and unwilling to let them say anything.
If language and cultural differences become exagerated when they come into contact, what you have is complementary schismogenesis. This is a term coined by Gregory Bateson to describe what happens when people with different cultural norms come into contact: they each react to the other’s differing patterns of behaviour by doing more of the opposing behaviour.
Another example of complementary schismogenesis can happen when someone who is used to standing close to the person they’re talking to has a conversation with someone who feels more comfortable with a larger space between them and the other person. The first person will keep on moving closer while the the second will keep on moving away. This is also an example of proxemics – the study of how people use space.
Source: An Introduction to Language and Linguistics, by Raply W. Fasold & Jeff Connor-Linton