Avoiding Social Faux-Pas In Russian Speaking Countries

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Avoiding Social Faux-Pas In Russian Speaking Countries

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Just as each nation has its own set of cultural taboos, it also has one of social faux-pas. When writing or chatting with a Russian woman it is best to not admit to certain behaviors you may engage in at home and certainly consider changing them if you and she begin to get serious. It goes without saying that if you should travel to meet her or her loved ones that you avoid engaging in them altogether while in her country.

First of all, men are expected to, well, look like Russian-speaking men. In conservative countries like the Ukraine, this means no braided or dreadlock hair, earrings, or nail polish. You are also expected not to look or act cocky, like a gang-banger or tough guy by wearing dark glasses indoors in public buildings; baring your chest; displaying tattoos; smoking cigarettes; chewing tobacco; drinking out of bottles or tin cans; pulling out your pocket knife; spitting; blasting your boom box; or even whistling when walking around outside.

do not feed the animalsAll grooming belongs out of sight, done before you leave home, or at least not until you get inside a restroom. This includes brushing your hair, your teeth, and cleaning or trimming your fingernails. It goes without saying that you don’t leave a restroom without flushing the toliet.

Animal lovers need to refrain from feeding birds, stray cats and dogs, or even your own four legged friend when within public view. You also should walk pets on side streets and avoid ones with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Humans don’t get much open kindness either if they are begging as it is not proper to give them food or drink nor should you panhandle either.

Streets are for getting where you are going. They are not for dancing (except in a designated area during a particular event), hitchhiking, jaywalking, littering, putting out your cigarette butt, stopping to hug your girlfriend, skating on the sidewalk, strolling barefoot, or pulling out your graffiti marker and leaving your mark on a building or wall.

While it may be cool to dress in camouflage or like you are a citizen cop in the United States, it is not in Russian speaking countries. Even If you have the mafia out after you, you don’t wear a bullet proof vest. Walkie talkies are definitely out of the question.

“Dressing To Impress Your Russian Woman”

Other public ‘no-nos’ include preaching religion, taking photographs of strangers, bridges, or off-limit buildings, using binoculars (except in appropriate event settings) or summoning taxis by sticking out your thumb like you are hitchhiking.

When in a restaurant, do not attempt to get the waiter or waitresses’ attention by whistling. Tip within standard limits, not overtipping or undertipping.

Both women and elders are to be respected. This includes not striding in front of your girlfriend or female colleague so she appears to be meekly following behind. When speaking with elders, remove your cap, and do not stand with your hands on your hips like you are about to talk back to them. Asking either a woman or a senior their age is impolite.

When getting together with others, don’t use a two handed handshake and only offer it in greeting, not when saying goodbye. Don’t touch other body parts or put your hand in their hair. Slapping a bottom would be particularly offensive. If the person has a title don’t address them solely by such as “hey, doctor”. Don’t take your feet off the ground to where the sole of your shoe can be seen or stand close when talking. If you have been invited to their home do not take your shoes off when entering or sit on their floor. When seated, don’t wiggle around as if you are uncomfortable or can’t wait to leave or use a table as your footrest. Oh yes, and remove that gum from your mouth. You can talk politics, but stay away from religion.

Gestures which are fine back at home are inappropriate or have a different meaning in Russian speaking countries. Therefore do not fingerpoint, give sly winks, make ‘V for Victory’ signs with your fingers, tip your head to indicate someone is crazy or beckon someone with your index finger extended.

Perhaps two words which will serve as general guidelines in avoiding faux-pas are ‘proper’ and ‘formal’. With them in mind, you are likely to demonstrate good social graces in Russian speaking countries.

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