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Russian Women: Unwritten Rules. Smiles and Greetings

As mentioned before, Russian women, or Russians in general, don’t smile nearly as much as Americans do. And it doesn’t mean that we are sad. A smile from someone we don’t know makes us, Russians, feel self-conscious. I might think, that I look funny, or that our clothes are dirty if somebody I don’t know looks at me and smiles. Well, it is different when a guy smiles to a girl – in this cases smile usually means that he is interested in her.

So if you go to Russia, don’t smile too much. You might get unnecessary attention. Also, if your Russian bride doesn’t smile a lot, there is no need to ask her if she is OK 15 times a day. It can be annoying. She is most likely just fine.

We greet people just once during the day. If we see them more than once we don’t greet them again. The greeting is usually “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”, “Good evening” or informal “Hello” (Privet). Most Russians freak out when they come to America and everyone, strangers included, says Hi a few times a day, or starts asking them “how are they doing?”

I still feel uncomfortable answering this question, because now I know that often people don’t really care how I am doing and ask this just because it is just a ritual. So why bother answering. I also know that I am expected to answer, that I am “fine, thank you”, no matter if it is true or not. I don’t like that. I feel that I am not sincere when I am answering the question, so I often catch myself telling people what is going on with my life. “Oh, you know, I was very sick last week, but I got better. We also bought new brand of diapers and they don’t have a very good leak-protection. Imagine that!” Yeah, something like that. I assume and hope that you are quite sincere when you ask your Russian bride or girlfriend how she is doing, so it shouldn’t be a problem. But if you go to Russia, be careful with her acquaintances and especially with strangers.

Don’t say Hi to strangers, don’t smile at them and don’t ask them how they are doing. Good chances are, they will not like that.

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1 Comment so far

  1. Sean on January 5th, 2010

    Thank you for another great post, Natasha. Great site.

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