It is always good to be prepared for life in another country because of cultural diversity. You can do this by researching, enriching yourself with knowledge on what to do and what not to do. It is no secret that each culture features different norms, behaviors, and gestures for social interaction. For instance, nodding your head in most cultures will mean that you agree but for some parts of Bulgaria and Albania, nodding of the head means disagreement. Similarly, a friendly smile to a person seated next to you or passing by is perceived as unusual and may raise eyebrows.
Therefore, talking or making certain gestures that you consider polite and friendly may be offensive to another person from another culture. Russia is a progressive country though her people have really hung onto traditional culture and tradition. Even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russians are still communistic in nature and this is reflected in their social interactions. Most of these social ethics are unknown to visitors.
Nice, Polite, Attractive Russians
I have highlighted some of the things you should keep in mind while in Russia in order to be nice and respective to the Russians:
- Don’t lick food off your knife. Licking food remainders off a trusty utensil is seen as a sign of cruelty and considered rude. It is unacceptable and perceived as savage. Only the fork or spoon gets to your mouth.
- Don’t smile unnecessarily. Sometimes, while in a new country or environment, you may tend to smile just to appreciate your presence in the area or ease of tension with your host. This is highly welcome in western countries but overdoing it is considered gross in Russia. Actually, smiling for no reason in Russia you may be considered a fool. Similarly, you may be considered mentally ill or drunk.
- Avoid whistling indoors. Russians are superstitious just like other people around the world. This is considered a sign of bad luck.
- Remember to take your shoes off. Most Russians are very sensitive about their flour, which makes it imperative that you get rid of your shoes before getting into any Russian home. Even when the floor is not that attractive, ensure you take off your shoes and your host may give you slippers or tapochki to wear.
- Engage in the toast Russians like to be happy and have fun. At parties such as weddings and birthdays, there will be toasts. Most toasts are to love or ”za lyubo” which is followed by ”za”. Remember to participate or you will be considered rude.
- If you are not ready for more alcohol, keep your cup half-full. This is a rule that applies when drinking with Russians. By keeping you cup half-full, you will be implying that you are not ready for the next round. It can be helpful to you if you are not a big drinker. Otherwise, if you do not drink, let them know.
- Shun from exchanging money after nightfall. In the event that you owe money to a Russian, ensure that you pay them. However, do not do this during the nighttime. Most Russians believe that any money received at nightfall is a bad sign.
- Shun from shaking hands over a threshold. It is always respectful in Russia for you to wait for your visitor to get into the house before you can shake his or her hand. Meeting someone at the front door and shaking his or her hand over the threshold is perceived as lack of respect.
- Flowers should not be given in even numbers. Russian tradition is keen on the number of flowers bought and the color. To begin with, yellow flowers are sometimes regarded as funeral flowers. In addition to that, avoid buying flowers in even numbers.
- Remember to bring along a gift. Never show up empty-handed when visiting a Russian host. Your host may have spent a lot preparing something for you to eat. Therefore, it is only fair that you bring a token of appreciation to them which may be in the form of a gift. Chocolate, flowers or wine is highly appreciated if your host is a woman. Beer will do in the case of a man.
- Never argue with Babushki. Babushki is the Russian name for grandmother. In Russia, grandmothers are highly respected and should never be meddled with. They command a lot of power and respect as much as they may be the weakest financially. Moreover, you should be ready to give them a seat in a bus, tram, metro and so on.
Culture and tradition is something that is to be preserved and appreciated. The Russian way of life has been in existence for a long time will definitely be enriching to your own way of life.