Habits of Foreigners That Could Be Considered Offensive in Russia

It’s no biggie, just little details to watch out for during the championship

Motorolla (CC0), Pixabay

Russians are amazing, funny, witty and also strict for certain things. Yup, they can frown when foreigners do certain things when they come to their beloved Russia. Let’s see what annoys Russians the most – if you are a foreigner.

1. When you make loud slurping sounds while eating

Maybe in some southern countries, it is ok to be loud while eating, to make those sounds, to chew with mouth open and so on. But, in Russia slurping sounds are considered a bad habit and only a person that is rude and not polite would do some slurping sounds. Yes, for them this is bad manners, regardless of how tasty the food is. So, try to chew with mouth closed and make less of those sounds. When you are finished eating, just politely be grateful for the food served and say ‘Spasiba’.

2. Food must be eaten – plate must be empty in the end

Speaking about food, we have another one that goes hand in hand maybe. If you leave food in your plate, Russians would think this is impolite too. Some countries say it is posh or fancy and polite behavior to leave some food and drink and not finish everything. But, here if you do that Russians will think you are disrespectful toward food and waste it easily. Don’t be surprised if in restaurants the waiter asks why you still have food left. But, in case some food is left, forget about the bin and instead feed the birds with some bread and give some food to the dogs.

3. When a woman is not treated in a chivalry way to dinner

A woman might make a lot or double than a man, but still, there is some sort of chivalry when a man pays for the dinner. Women expect the man to show this politeness and it is not disrespect, it is simply chivalry. In the West, maybe women would consider that an offense, but here that’s not the case. Also, sometimes Russian women can insist on paying for themselves, and this means the man won’t get another date since he paid for himself, and that is stinginess for them.

4. Entering the home with shoes on

In many countries, people enter their homes with shoes on and for them this is normal. But, Russians are shocked when shoes are not taken off right away! When Russians get home, they take shoes off and put on their traditional slippers ‘tapochki’. Everyone in Russia has slippers at home, winter and summer ones, and of course, a few pairs for the guests. Same with clothes. Pajamas are for sleeping, but there are clothes not worn outside but are comfy ones for after bathing or simply sitting at home.

5. Workouts clothes worn outside

Everyone in Russia has clothes for everything as we mentioned. But, gym clothes are inappropriate for outside. They are as the name says, for ‘workouts’ or gyms. Also, flip-flops and shorts or similar are for the beach only. In the city, these clothes are a big NO. You can wear them, but you will get awkward looks. Some Russian girls and women do this, and it is just as strange. So, try to dress accordingly for any sort of daily activities that are not exercising.

Except if you’re a gopnik and you love Adidas tracksuits, then it’s ok.

6. Not visiting friends and not inviting them to your place

Hospitality is a great thing for Russians and they really love it and appreciate it. If you travel to some city where your friends are, regardless if it’s tourist reasons or business, try to give them a call and visit them. Otherwise, they will get offended if they know you were in that place and didn’t hit them up. Or maybe you are in the same town and avoid visiting each other. They will think your friendship bond is not as strong enough. No need for planning ahead when you have Russian friends. Same for neighbors. They might like to visit you once in a while for a chit-chat or coffee. And it can happen without announcement – Russians are that warm and friendly! Know ahead, small gatherings can end up even during the night after many hours.

7. Not being honest in simple daily conversations

In the Western countries, politeness is like a regular habit, whether with huge reasons or not. If you are asked in those countries ‘How are you doing, are you ok?’ and you respond with ‘Great, awesome’, but you are feeling quite neutral, it doesn’t matter then. But, in Russian, this type of talk is thought of as not quite sincere, like fake politeness for the sake of some positivity. In Russia, if you are asked ‘how are you’, the person actually means it and would offer a chit-chat or curiosity of what is going on – full of compassion and warmth. If a Russian is interested enough to ask ‘how are you’, he/she means it with all honesty. So, in this case, don’t be shy and know you are understood.

If you think about visiting Russia, do that, you’ll see amazing things and people, and try to be open and friendly and respect their culture. It’s worth it! Let us know if there is something more that should be here 🙂

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